- Associated Press - Saturday, December 13, 2014

BELLMAWR, N.J. (AP) - The first Hispanic woman to serve in New Jersey’s Legislature is headed back to Trenton.

Democratic county committee members from Camden and Gloucester counties unanimously agreed Saturday to have Nilsa Cruz-Perez assume the 5th Legislative District seat. It was vacated by Donald Norcross, who resigned after he was elected to the House of Representatives last month.

Cruz-Perez will take the oath of office at 1 p.m. Monday in the senate chamber. She will hold the seat through next year, when a special election will be held in November for the final two years of Norcross’ term.

Cruz-Perez had represented the 5th District as an assemblywoman for 14 years before she chose to not seek re-election in 2009. She also is an Army veteran who currently heads the Camden County Office of Constituent Services

In a statement issued shortly after her appointment was announced, Cruz-Perez said she will focus on economic issues.

“I hear about the struggles of many working families every day … Our seniors living on fixed income shouldn’t have to choose between a property tax bill and their groceries,” Cruz-Perez said. “More retirees are headed south, far from their loved ones, just because they can’t afford to make ends meet. This is my inspiration for serving.”

The 5th District includes 19 towns, stretching from Camden City to Mullica Hill.

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