Democrats who served with Bagger praise his skills, demeanor

Two Democrats who served with formerstate Sen.Richard Bagger when he chaired the Assembly Appropriations Committee hailed him as a wise choice to co-chair Gov.-elect Chris Christie's transition task force on budget and taxes.

"What an impressive and talented guy," state Sen. Barbara Buono (D-Metuchen), chair of the senate budget committee, said of the legislator turned top Pfizer executivewho Christietoday namedto the transition post along with venture capitalist Robert Grady.

"When he left it was a great loss to the New JerseyLegislature," Buono added of Bagger. "We're lucky to have him back. It says something about Chris Christie that he wound find someone thatboth parties hold in very high regard. And he's a nice guy on top of that. A real gentleman."

Former Assemblyman Bill Payne (D-Newark),older brother of U.S. Rep. Donald Payne (D-Newark),also praised Bagger.

"He was a very professional guy," said Payne. "He's a good representative for the Republican Party. He may have been partisan but he didn't come off as partisan. He was never an in-your-face kind of guy." Democrats who served with Bagger praise his skills, demeanor