By John Celock
A councilman in one of New Jersey’s most populous communities is now the state’s newest legislator.
Democrat Robert Karabinchak was sworn-in Thursday as assemblyman from the state’s 18th legislative district. Karabinchak, who stepped down as a councilman in Edison to become a legislator, was picked by Middlesex County Democrats earlier this month to replace Democrat Patrick Diegnan, who was picked to fill a vacancy in the state Senate. Karabinchak’s term runs through a November special election to fill the remaining year of Diegnan’s term.
“I am energized and I am so excited,” Karabinchak said. “I think the state of New Jersey is worthwhile to fight for our residents.”
Karabinchak will face off in November against East Brunswick Councilwoman Camille Ferraro Clark (R) for the remainder of the Assembly term. The district leans Democrat, giving Karabinchak an edge in the special election. In his remarks, Karabinchak praised Democrats in Edison as “something to be talked about.”
Karabinchak served over seven years on the Edison Township Council before his appointment to the state Legislature. A contractor, he has served as a commissioner of the Middlesex County Utilities Authority, vice chairman of the Edison Zoning Board and chairman of the Edison Fair Rental Housing Board.
The nation’s newest legislator was greeted with warm words by his colleagues, who alluded to the debate that was about to come on legislation regarding the economic collapse of Atlantic City.
“As you learned in today’s caucus, the discussions are lively,” Assembly Majority Leader Louis Greenwald (D-Voorhees) said.
Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick (R-Westfield) noted that he hopes Karabinchak will work in a bipartisan fashion.
“Hopefully we can work together as Democrats and Republicans for the betterment of New Jersey,” Bramnick said.