PRESS RELEASE October-15-2019

Sweeney Praises Richard Smith’s Leadership & Accomplishments as Head of NAACP

Cherry Hill – Addressing the NAACP’s New Jersey State Conference today Senate President Steve Sweeney praised Richard T. Smith, the president of the conference, as one of the most respected and accomplished civil rights leaders in New Jersey.

Senator Sweeney identified a series of new laws and policies to advance social justice and equal opportunities that were developed and put in place with the active involvement of Mr. Smith.

“Richard Smith has distinguished himself as one of the most respected and accomplished civil rights leaders in New Jersey and has been instrumental in every issue of importance to advance social justice and equality,” said Senator Sweeney (D-Gloucester/Salem/Cumberland). “He has been a strong partner and an effective advocate for advancing the laws and policies that have made real progress.”

Senator Sweeney talked about criminal justice reforms, like restricting the use of isolated confinement, bail reform, re-entry programs and the law requiring an independent prosecutor for police involved shooting deaths.

He also discussed school funding reform and the importance of equal educational opportunities for all students, regardless of where they live, and the progress achieved on pay equity, paid family leave, maternal health, increasing WorkFirst New Jersey benefits and the expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit.

“New Jersey became a national leader on bail reform and Richard Smith was instrumental in making it happen,” said Senator Sweeney. “The same is true with my independent prosecutor law in cases of police involved shooting deaths. It would not have been enacted without the active support of the NAACP and Richard Smith.”

Senator Sweeney said that more needs to be done to advance other social justice reforms, referring to initiatives such as the expungement of criminal records, further expansion of the EITC tax credits for the working poor, the legalization of marijuana and more assistance for re-entry services, among other steps.

“I have worked productively with Senator Sweeney on the issues of importance to us and we made real and lasting progress,” said Richard Smith. “There is more we want to accomplish and I fully expect to continue our working relationship.”