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Renee Burgess joins Legislature, replacing Sen. Ron Rice

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Renee Burgess joins Legislature, replacing Sen. Ron Rice

Sep 30, 2022 | 12:09 pm ET
By Sophie Nieto-Munoz
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Renee Burgess joins Legislature, replacing Sen. Ron Rice
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Sen. Renee Burgess was sworn in Thursday to replace former Sen. Ron Rice.

Renee Burgess, most recently Irvington’s council president, was sworn in Thursday as the state senator for the 28th Legislative District, succeeding longtime Sen. Ron Rice.

Burgess, a Democrat, joined the Legislature during a ceremony on the Senate floor, cheered on by family, friends, and Irvington officials.

I have just been elevated to a level in my life where I have been granted the opportunity to do something I love and desire so passionately: helping others, no matter race, creed, or background,” she said.

Burgess was chosen by Essex County Democrats three weeks ago to temporarily succeed Rice, the longest-serving Black lawmaker in state history. Rice stepped down due to health issues.

“Senator Burgess brings a wealth of experience in the public and private sectors and possesses an understanding of government from her service in elected and appointed positions,” Senate President Nicholas Scutari said in a statement. “She has deep roots in her community and a record of accomplishment in local government.”

Burgess, 51, is the first lawmaker to hail from Irvington. Besides serving on the city’s council, she was also a school board member from 2003 to 2014.

After she was named to replace Rice, Gov. Phil Murphy called Burgess a “strong partner in our shared mission of expanding opportunity and increasing affordability for every New Jersey family.” 

She will serve through Nov. 8, when a special election will be held to fill the rest of Rice’s term, which expires in January 2024.