Nilsa Cruz-Perez

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Nilsa Cruz-Perez
Member of the New Jersey Senate
from the 5th district
Assumed office
December 15, 2014
Preceded by Donald Norcross
Member of the New Jersey General Assembly
from the 5th district
In office
February 27, 1995 – January 12, 2010
Preceded by Wayne Bryant
Succeeded by Donald Norcross
Angel Fuentes
Personal details
Born (1961-01-21) January 21, 1961 (age 56)
Bayamón, Puerto Rico
Political party Democratic
Residence Barrington, New Jersey
Alma mater University of Puerto Rico
University of Maryland
Occupation Director of Constituent Services, Camden County
Website Legislative web page
Military service
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch Emblem of the United States Department of the Army.svg United States Army
Years of service 1981-1987
Rank Army-USA-OR-05.svg Sergeant

Nilsa Cruz-Perez (born January 21, 1961) is an American Democratic Party politician who was sworn into office to represent the 5th Legislative District in the New Jersey Senate on December 15, 2014, to fill the vacant seat of Donald Norcross. She had previously served in the New Jersey General Assembly from 1995 to 2010 and is the first Latina woman to serve in the Assembly.


Cruz-Perez born on January 21, 1961, in Bayamón, Puerto Rico. She attended the University of Puerto Rico earning a degree in political science, Big Bend Community College Army Quartermaster School and the Temple University Overseas Division.[1] Cruz-Perez served in the United States Army from 1981 to 1987, attaining the rank of sergeant. Cruz-Perez works as a part-time community development specialist for the Camden County Improvement Authority.[1]

Formerly a resident of Camden, she now resides in Barrington.[2]

Political career[edit]

Cruz-Perez was selected in February 1995 to fill the vacancy created by resignation of Assemblyman Wayne R. Bryant, when Bryant was selected to fill the Senate seat vacated due to the death of Senator Walter Rand on January 6, 1995.[3] She was sworn into the Assembly on February 27.[4] Serving in the Assembly until 2010, representing the 5th District for the entire time she was serving, she was the Assistant Majority Leader from 2002–2005 and Deputy Majority Leader from January 2006 to January 2010.[1] In 2009 she announced that she would retire after her current term in the legislature.[5] While in the Assembly, Cruz-Perez served on the Consumer Affairs Committee (as chair), the Housing and Local Government Committee, the Human Services Committee, and the Military and Veterans' Affairs Committee.[1]

Following the election and swearing in of State Senator Donald Norcross to the United States House of Representatives in 2014, the Democratic committees of Camden and Gloucester counties (the two counties within the 5th district) appointed Cruz-Perez to the vacant Senate seat.[2] She will serve until a special election in 2015 in which she is running.[6] While in the Senate, she is serving on the Economic Growth, (vice-chair), Military and Veterans' Affairs, and Transportation committees and Joint Committee on the Public Schools.

In addition to her legislative duties, she is also a Vice-Chair of the New Jersey Democratic State Committee (since 2015) and a member of the Rutgers University–Camden Board of Directors (since 2014).[7] Between her legislative stints, she was the Democratic Vice-Chair of the 2011 New Jersey Apportionment Commission, the committee delegated to redraw the state legislative districts following the 2010 Census.[4]


  1. ^ a b c d Assemblywoman Cruz-Perez's legislative web page, New Jersey Legislature. Accessed November 15, 2016.
  2. ^ a b Caffrey, Michelle (December 15, 2014). "First Latina legislator in N.J. Cruz-Perez steps into new role in state Senate". South Jersey Times. Retrieved July 3, 2015. 
  3. ^ Ott, Dwight (January 28, 1995). "Latino Woman Likely To Join Assembly - A First Camden's Nilsa Cruz-perez Would Replace Wayne R. Bryant. He Will Fill Walter Rand's State Senate Seat.". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved July 3, 2015. 
  4. ^ a b "New Jersey Apportionment Committee - Commission Membership". Retrieved July 3, 2015. 
  5. ^ McCarthy, Pete. "Seat opens in 5th District", Gloucester County Times, March 18, 2009. Accessed November 15, 2016. "Assemblywoman Nilsa Cruz-Perez, the first Hispanic woman elected to the Legislature, announced she will not seek re-election after 14 years in Trenton."
  6. ^ "Unofficial List Candidates for State Senate For PRIMARY ELECTION 06/02/2015 Election" (PDF). Secretary of State of New Jersey. June 3, 2015. Retrieved July 3, 2015. 
  7. ^ "Nilsa Cruz-Perez (D)". New Jersey Legislature. Retrieved July 3, 2015. 

External links[edit]

New Jersey Senate
Preceded by
Donald Norcross
Member of the New Jersey Senate for the 5th District
December 15, 2014–present
Succeeded by
New Jersey General Assembly
Preceded by
Wayne Bryant
Member of the New Jersey General Assembly for the 5th District
February 27, 1995–January 12, 2010
With: Joseph J. Roberts
Succeeded by
Donald Norcross
Angel Fuentes