Assembly members, Paterson & Passaic County officials push for TTF Action

PATERSON, NJ — Assemblywoman Shavonda Sumter and Assemblyman Benjie Wimberly were joined by officials from the City of Paterson and Passaic County this morning for a Press Event calling for action on the state’s Transportation Trust Fund. Held near Paterson’s Spruce Street Bridge, which is slated for millions in repairs that have now been shut down due to the impasse over transportation funding, the event highlighted the need for the State Senate to take action on to fund the TTF by passing the Assembly’s bill or forwarding compromise legislation.

“Passing a bill to fund these vital transportation projects is essential to our state’s economy and inaction is not acceptable,” said Assemblywoman Sumter. “We are calling on the State Senate to meet its responsibility and either take action on the bill that passed the Assembly, or come to the Assembly with a compromise that the Governor is willing to sign. So far neither has happened, and our state is suffering for it.”

The State Assembly passed a bill to increase the state’s gas tax by 23 cents in order to fund the TTF that would also gradually lower the sales tax from seven percent to six percent, resulting in tax relief for nearly all state residents. Assembly members have been calling for the State Senate to act on the Assembly bill or come to the table with a compromise.

“New Jersey’s economy depends on its infrastructure and failing to act to fund these transportation projects is simply not an option,” said Assemblyman Wimberly. “Thousands of construction jobs are at stake in the short term, and in the long term our state’s economic viability is hanging in the balance.”

Taken in all, $3.5 billion in statewide transportation projects are now in limbo after Governor Christie passed an executive order freezing non-essential transportation projects. This includes many projects in the 35th district, including the Spruce Street Bridge, Paterson Market Street Bus Terminal, various road resurfacing projects and much more.

In addition to the Assembly members, the event was attended by Passaic County Freeholders John Bartlett, Terry Duffy and Pat Lapore, Paterson Councilman Luis Velez and Mark Roche, Business Manager, IBEW Local 102.

For any additional information please contact Philip Swibinski at 201-978-8651 or


[Influencers] N.J.Assemblywoman Shavonda Sumter is On a Mission

As seen on

“Tackling tough political issues seems to come naturally for New Jersey State Assemblywoman Shavonda Sumter. She’s been in office just four years, yet her optimism and her results make you want to believe in the political process.

Her key projects are complex ones, including pushing for uniform access to mental health care, raising the minimum wage for workers, ending discriminatory hiring practices and offering urban centers some modicum of protection from state takeovers.

The work sounds daunting but the Paterson, New Jersey native says making a difference, as cliché as that sounds, is why she entered politics. “My godmother, former Assemblywoman Elease Evans, served in office [30 years] and was ready to retire,” says Sumter, 42. “She was adamant that there was someone coming behind her to carry the torch and to carry on the work of the people and that was the genesis of me wanting to get into politics.”

Read more at EBONY

NJ Assemblywoman Shavonda Sumter Nominated for EMILYs List’s Rising Star Award


For Immediate Release

March 11, 2016

 New Jersey Assemblywoman Shavonda Sumter Nominated for EMILY’s List’s Gabrielle Giffords Rising Star Award

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today EMILY’s List, the nation’s largest resource for women in politics, announced that Shavonda Sumter, New Jersey assemblywoman, is a 2016 nominee for its Gabrielle Giffords Rising Star Award.

Named in honor of the dedicated and courageous Gabrielle Giffords, the Rising Star Award celebrates an extraordinary woman serving in state or local office. The award honors a woman who demonstrates the sort of commitment to community, dedication to women and families, and determination and civility that have been the highlights of former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ career, in and out of office. Previous Rising Star Award recipients include Georgia House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams in 2014 and Boston City Councilwoman Ayanna Pressley in 2015.

EMILYSLISTRISINGSTAR“Shavonda Sumter is a progressive leader who knows how to get things done,” said Stephanie Schriock, president of EMILY’s List. “Her effective legislating and endless efforts in protecting marginalized communities is reflective of the kind of leader that this state needs. The EMILY’s List community couldn’t be prouder to nominate Sumter, a leader with passion and determination, for the Gabrielle Giffords Rising Star Award.”

Shavonda Sumter began serving in the New Jersey legislature in 2012, where she provides a steady demeanor that proves invaluable in advancing an agenda to help her constituency. She is an effective legislator representing both urban and suburban communities. She advocates for progressive principles that include increasing the minimum wage, ending discriminatory hiring practices, and improving access to mental health treatment. The NJ Auditor named her the most prolific legislator for having the most signed bills by the governor in 2014. Sumter legislates with compassion and is committed to working through the state’s tough challenges with integrity.

The Gabrielle Giffords Rising Star Award winner will be chosen with community input. Online voting can be found here: Vote for the 2016 Rising Star.

Assemblywoman Shavonda Sumter is nominated alongside:

  • Stephanie Chang, Michigan State Representative
  • Kathleen Clyde, Ohio State Representative
  • Crisanta Duran, Colorado State House Majority Leader
  • Leanne Krueger-Braneky, Pennsylvania State Representative
  • Maggie Toulouse Oliver, Bernalillo County Clerk in New Mexico

EMILY’s List, the nation’s largest resource for women in politics, has raised over $400 million to support pro-choice Democratic women candidates – making it one of the most successful political organizations ever. We recruit and train candidates, support strong campaigns, research women’s issues, and turn out women voters. We’ve trained over 9,000 women to run, and helped elect over 100 women to the House, 19 to the Senate, 11 governors, and over 700 to state and local office. Since its founding in 1985, almost one-third of the candidates EMILY’s List has helped elect to Congress have been women of color – including every single Latina, African American, and Asian American Democratic Congresswoman currently serving.

Press Contact: Rachel Thomas 202-326-1400



SUPERTuesday Dem Match: Who Will Win?

bern v hilary

Super Tuesday – March 1, 2016 – is the biggest single day for presidential candidates to receive delegates by voting in 12 states and one U.S. territory. The day is a turning point in most presidential election years, typically serving as the key indicator as to who the nominees will be from each party.

Who’s Voting for Democrats: Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia and American Samoa.

Game: Participate in the poll below by choosing which presidential nominee will win each state. The participant that predicts the most states correctly will win 2 free tickets to Assemblywoman Sumter’s Annual Beefsteak (value $160.00).

To Participate: Play The SUPERTuesday Game

Answer each question and submit your answers. You can only submit 1 entry.

Good Luck!

Important Dates to Remember for Voter Registration

Go-Vote-500x500Here are a few dates to keep in mind as as we approach the November 3, 2015 election:

The voter registration deadline is Tuesday, October 13th, 2015. If you have not voted since the 2012 Presidential election, you may no longer be registered to vote. If you’re unsure click here: Am I Registered?

Registering to vote is easy. Print out this voter registration form, fill it out and mail it in! No postage is required for this form.

The deadline to apply by mail for a Vote by Mail Ballot for the General Election is  Tuesday, October 27, 2015. Print out this voter registration form, fill it out and mail it in! No postage is required for this form.

On Saturday, October 31, 2015 there are special Saturday hours for mail in ballots at the Paterson Clerk’s Office at 401 Grand Street Room 113. Please drop off your application between the hours of 8am – 1pm. The deadline for in-person mail in ballots is Monday, November 2, 2015.

Celebrate Democracy; Go Vote November 3, 2015!

National Voter Registration Day is September 22, 2015

National Voter Registration Day is a huge national effort to get as many people to register to vote as possible. The goal is not to advocate on behalf of a candidate or party, but to make sure that people have access to voting. Celebrate democracy! #CelebrateNVRD

Nearby Events:logo

Stop by the 35th District Legislative District
181 Market Street, Paterson NJ

September 23, 2015 @ 2:30pm
Montclair State University National Voter Registration Day
Student Center Quad
1 Normal Avenue, Montclair, NJ 07043

Register to Vote Online:

Print a Voter Application to Mail In:

Sumter & Wimberly Lauded for Championing Landmark Juvenile Justice Reforms

(PATERSON) – Democratic legislators Shavonda E. Sumter, Benjie E. Wimberly and Senator Nellie Pou, (all D-Bergen/Passaic) were praised in a morning press conference on Tuesday for their efforts in successfully getting landmark legislation that reforms New Jersey’s juvenile justice system enacted into law.

“Sending a child to an adult prison population has no rehabilitative benefits at all,” said Assemblywoman Sumter. “Where and how a young person serves their sentence can make a great difference in their choice to better themselves in the future or go on to habitually repeat their mistakes. With this new law, we can begin to mend the current system, help break the cycle of recidivism and give hope to those who never had it.”
The law, A-4299/S-2003, builds on previous reform efforts by focusing on the rehabilitation of young offenders in the justice system and the need to make communities safer. The new reforms include the process of transferring children and young adults from the juvenile system to the adult system, and improvements to confinement conditions in detention facilities.

“How a young person serves their time in prison is critical to reducing recidivism and crime in our neighborhoods,” said Assemblyman Wimberly. “A chance, hope, counselors, and access to addiction services are critical parts of the solution to successfully rehabilitating a young person in prison. We must remember that they are still children and in an adult prison, with its limited services, their needs are not adequately met. This new law now changes that.”

Senate President Steve Sweeney joined legal advocates, prosecutors, juvenile justice professionals, and Paterson Mayor Joey Torres in extending accolades for the work of Senator Pou and Assembly members Wimberly and Sumter on the legislation.

“I applaud Senator Pou, who has championed this reform through the legislature, for her hard work and dedication to improving the juvenile justice system in New Jersey, and Assemblywoman Sumter and Assemblyman Wimberly for their leadership efforts in gaining approval through the Assembly,” said Senator Sweeney (D-Cumberland/Gloucester/Salem). “For years, the juvenile justice system in New Jersey has been a leading example in efforts to ensure the well=being of children and young adults in detention centers. With this new law, we can further improve our system and help young people who have made mistakes get the second chance they deserve to turn their lives around.”

“Young people in the criminal justice system deserve the opportunity of rehabilitation in an environment that supports reform so that they can become contributing members of society,” said Senator Pou, who spearheaded the Senate version of the legislation. “Our major goal is not only to protect young individuals from disciplinary policies that could be harmful to their mental and physical health but also to make sure that those who commit serious crimes are held accountable. These are significant changes that will provide the services and guidelines to meet those goals and help these young people get back on their feet and to break the cycle of crime and imprisonment.”

The law raises the minimum age to waive a child into the adult court system from 14 to 15, allowing for a 60-day period to evaluate an individual’s case rather than 30 days. However, it will permit juveniles over age 15 to be waived to adult court for serious crimes such as murder, robbery, and kidnapping.

“These reforms will bring more fairness to the justice system,” said Mayor Joey Torres. “Young people have an opportunity to learn from their mistakes and lead productive lives. This new law will help support them in these efforts at the same time it strengthens and improves the juvenile justice system.”

The new law also raises the age to transfer adolescents from juvenile detention centers to adult facilities, from 16 to 18, and includes notifying the individual of the transfer and reasons in writing.

“Senators Sweeney and Pou and Assembly members Sumter and Wimberly and all the supporters of the law worked tirelessly to strike an appropriate balance with these reforms,” said Judge Lee Forrester (retired). “This is how government reforms should work. This law will help make sure that young people are given a healthy environment where they can be proactive in their next stage of life. Reforming the juvenile justice system is a strong step in the right direction.”

The reform sponsors worked closely with the County Prosecutors Association, the Attorney General’s Office, the Juvenile Justice Commission and the Administrative Office of the Courts on the legislation.

“This new law strikes an appropriate balance in supporting juvenile offenders and their families as they rehabilitate their lives while ensuring those juveniles who commit adult-type crimes like murder can still receive adult sentences,” said Sean Dalton, Chief of the County Prosecutor’s Association. “We appreciate Senate President Sweeney and Senator Pou’s inclusion of the County Prosecutor’s positions and input into this process.“

In consultation with the Attorney General, the Juvenile Justice Commission will also establish a program to collect, record, and analyze data to keep track of juvenile waiver cases. The commission will publish and submit its findings biennially online and to the Governor and the Legislature.

“Although juveniles should be held accountable for their actions, the goal of the juvenile justice system is to return these youth to their communities equipped with the skills they need to stay out of trouble and mature into productive adults,” said Cecilia Zalkind, executive director, Advocates for Children of New Jersey. “These reforms are a solid step in achieving this outcome. ACNJ wants to thank Senator Nellie Pou for her leadership in working with all stakeholders to reach consensus on this important legislation.”

Additionally, the law imposes limits according to age on the amount of time a juvenile could spend in solitary confinement, known as room restriction in the juvenile justice system. It will also allow prosecutors to extend an individual’s sentence at a juvenile detention center, if requested, for up to three years.

Assemblywoman Sumter on Cablevision’s Meet the Leaders


I sat down with Cablevision’s @DebbieDuHaime for a look at the state’s juvenile justice system and legislation aimed at encouraging rehabilitation, the Supreme Court’s pension ruling and teacher layoffs in Paterson.

Watch Meet the Leaders with Debbie DuHaime