Alex DeCroce dies: Tragedy mars the new legislative session

This was written late last night, with some morning additions. But some people are still hearing this for the first time, so we’ll leave this up top for a while. Today’s morning news roundup can be found here. – Rosi

VOTERS GUIDE 2003 DECROCESenator Weinberg informed us late tonight that 26th District Assemblyman Alex DeCroce has just died in the New Jersey statehouse. He was 75.

Update: Due to the death of Assemblymember DeCroce, all swearing in festivities as well as the State of the State have been cancelled. The governor, who is required by state Constitution to address the Legislature ,will simply speak about and eulogize his friend and their colleague at 1pm today. The more formal State of the State address, where the Governor lays out his agenda for the coming year, will be postponed.

Senator Loretta Weinberg described an awful scene. Shortly before midnight, with legislators headed out to their cars after a long night, Weinberg saw people running towards the men’s room on the lower level toward the state house back. Via Star-Ledger State Police Lt. Stephen Jones said a physician on hand attended to the legislator but he was found to be dead. We now know that physician was Herb Conaway, 7th District Assemblyman and the NJ Legislature’s only physician.

Tomorrow, the NJ legislature will be sworn in. Tonight, was the last day of the lame duck session, a long day and night of legislative decisions. The NJ Assembly began their day at 1pm.

DeCroce has been the Assembly’s Republican Leader since 2003, served as the Republican Conference Leader from 2002-2003 and was the Deputy Speaker from 1994-2001. DeCroce serves in the Assembly on the Legislative Services Commission. He has served the 26th district since 1989.

Our deepest sympathies to the Assemblyman’s wife Betty Lou, to his family, friends and staff, to DeCroce’s 26th District partners Sen. Joseph Pennacchio and Asm Jay Webber, and to colleagues who expected a fresh start tomorrow with swearing in and new session and will now mark tomorrow feeling the loss of a 23-year colleague.  

Comments (14)

  1. Hopeful

    My sympathies to his friends and family.

  2. deciminyan

    Sympathies to his family and friends.

  3. Rosi Efthim (Post author)

    Tonight I lost a dear friend, colleague and mentor – Assembly Republican Leader Alex De Croce,” the Governor said. “I have known Alex for nearly twenty years. He helped to give me my start in elective politics in Morris County in 1993. 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 heartfelt condolences to his wife, Department of Community Affairs Deputy Commissioner Betty Lou De Croce, and to Alex’s entire family. This is an enormous loss for our state and for me personally.

  4. firstamend07

    So sorry………..

  5. carolh

    Although I did not know him, I know he had many friends on both sides of the aisle in Trenton. He was tremendously respected and will be missed.

  6. Blue12345

    May the Assemblyman R.I.P.

  7. Babs NJSD

    Evidently DeCroce was a leader in the fight to deny gay and lesbians basic protections by being included in the Law Against Discrimination in 1992.

  8. mgm8822

    I’m sorry for the loss, and my thoughts are with his family.

    I understand if someone decides to delete this post if it is deemed in poor taste, but I agree with George Carlin that one should not manufacture praise for someone just because they are dead.

    “I’m one of the few people here … who feel that benefits are too good for these people…” “Why go to work? If you can go for 26 weeks, collecting $550 a week, and you get an extension for another 26, that’s close to $27,000 a year or $30,000 a year, and a lot of people figure, ‘Why go to work?'”

    We are bound by our words and actions in life. Heartlessness is not a virtue in my book.


  9. denniscmcgrath

    sit over here by me!

  10. Bertin Lefkovic

    I felt the same way as mgm, but I didn’t have the guts to say it, because I was already a pariah for having the temerity to think that the position of United States Senator was high enough and serious enough office in the hierarchy of public service that in order for a candidate to be taken seriously, he or she should have a modicum of higher education or have done something truly exceptional.

    Babs and mgm have already mentioned a couple of items for which DeCroce should be remembered.  I am sure that there are others.  I am not saying that we should spit on the man’s grave or belittle his family’s suffering, but I do not think that there is anything wrong with remembering people as they were as opposed to how their eulogizers would prefer us to remember them.

  11. denniscmcgrath

    I do think there is a reasonable period during which we should put aside real objections to a politician’s performance while his or her passing is still fresh, but yeah, DeCroce was no friend of progressive principles. Maybe a little Gilbert Gottfried to mention that just yet, but … there it is.

    And whatever his principles, he did dedicate his life to public service and indeed went to his reward while on the job, for which he does deserve some (some) respect.

  12. Bertin Lefkovic

    …I think that it is OK to be honest under these circumstances as long we are respectful.

  13. mgm8822

    “I am not saying that we should spit on the man’s grave or belittle his family’s suffering, but I do not think that there is anything wrong with remembering people as they were as opposed to how their eulogizers would prefer us to remember them.”

    I feel bad for DeCroce’s death the way I  feel bad for the death of any human being. However much I may dislike someone, death is too horrible a sentence for the deceased and his or her loved ones to be wished on anyone.

    But that being said, there is a difference between disrespecting or slandering a person’s memory and accurately stating who he was and what he did in his life.

    Christie said he was “kind and considerate.” I have just highlighted something he said that was about as cold and inconsiderate as one can get. I’ll leave it at that.

  14. Rosi Efthim (Post author)

    Noting his death as we did, and noting the sorrow of his colleagues in both parties (remembering many of them also witnessed his death), no, it does not change his voting record, or the impact his decisions had on New Jerseyans.

    We simply didn’t mention that in the first few minutes after his death, which is when this diary was posted. But that doesn’t change what he did.


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