By Young Soo Yang
Leading Republican Assemblyman Alex DeCroce died suddenly Monday night at the Statehouse, just moments after the Legislature wrapped up what had been a busy day of meetings and votes. He was 75 and represented parts of Morris and Passaic counties.
According to state police, the legislator died shortly before 11:30 p.m. in a first-floor restroom of the State House. State Police Lt. Stephen Jones said a physician on hand attended to the legislator but that he was found to be dead.
When word of the Assemblyman’s death reached Governor Christie, a close friend of DeCroce, the Governor appeared at the Statehouse, visibly emotional. In a statement released early this morning, Governor Christie expressed sadness over losing a “dear friend, colleague, and mentor” that he had known for twenty years. “He helped to give me my start in elective politics in Morris County in 1993,” said Christie. “He was one of the most kind, considerate, and trustworthy people I have ever had the pleasure to know. He was an enormously accomplished legislator and a tremendous servant to the people of New Jersey. Mary Pat and I offer our most heartfelt condolences to his wife, Department of Community Affairs Deputy Commissioner Betty Lou DeCroce, and to Alex’s entire family. This is an enormous loss for our state and for me personally.”
DeCroce’s sudden passing prompted Governor Christie to postpone his annual State of the State address. The Assembly and Senate greatly scaled back swearing-in ceremonies for new members. Christie is scheduled to deliver remarks about DeCroce on the floor of the Assembly in lieu of his scheduled address today. NJTV will provide live coverage of the eulogy beginning at 1 pm (ET) (Check your local listings).