PATERSON – On a mid October morning, state Sen. Paul Sarlo’s (D-Bergen) wife found him unconscious in the couple’s bed, suffering the effects of a pulmonary viral infection in conjunction with a sever acid reflux condition.
Early reports out of the hospital weren’t good.
Over a month later, Sarlo says he has made a full recovery as he prepares to assume the chairmanship of the Senate Judiciary Committee to succeed U.S. Rep.-elect Jon Adler (D-Camden).
“My recent episode puts a lot of things in perspective,” said the 40-year old Sarlo. “What I learned is the need for balance. I am in great shape and truly honored to be able to serve as chairman of such a prestigious committee and to play a vital role in our Constitutional duty to vet and examine all executive and judicial branch appointments.”
In selecting Sarlo, Senate President Richard J. Codey (D-Essex) thanked the departing Adler for his service and wished him the best in his job as the 3rd District Congressman. He also said he has every confidence in Sarlo.
“Paul understands the need for a fair and autonomous committee system, particularly when it comes to the Judiciary Committee, which is charged with ensuring the system of checks and balances that enables all branches of our government to run well,” said Codey.
Sarlo’s two predecessors as chair of Judiciary, former Sen. William Gormley (R-Atlantic) and Adler, both had law degrees. A licensed professional engineer by trade, Sarlo lacks a legal background, but said Gormley with his no-nonsense style and Adler with his calm and professional demeanor both served as good examples for him.
“For a legal perspective, I will rely on some of the great legal minds that we have on the committee,” said Sarlo, who will give up his chairmanship of the Senate Labor Committee but continue to serve as chair of the Legislative Oversight Committee.
State Sen. Fred Madden (D-Gloucester) and state Sen. Sandra Cunningham (D-Hudson) are the two leading contenders to replace Sarlo on Judiciary.