Hispanic Heritage Month: Camden’s Nilsa Cruz-Perez Named 1 of 5 Latinas Ready To Step in if U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez Leaves


Sen. Nilsa Cruz-Perez

By Clyde Hughes | AC JosepH Media

TRENTON — Camden State Sen. Nilsa Cruz-Perez was one of five Latinas highlighted in a call for representation in the U.S. Senate in light of challenges being faced by Bob Menendez.

Latina Civic PAC, a nonprofit committed to helping Latinas engage in the political process and helping them run for public office, named Cruz-Perez and four others who would make strong candidates for the U.S. Senate or statewide office.

Highlighting the great culture and leadership in South Jersey’s Hispanic community.

Cruz-Perez, an Army veteran who has served in the New Jersey Assembly, has been a member of the New Jersey Senate since 2014. A native of Puerto Rico, she had served as head of the Camden County Department of Constituent Service and the Office of Hispanic Affairs.

Gov. Phil Murphy has called for Menendez to resign immediately upon the latest federal indictments against him. Murphy would have the responsibility of naming Menendez’s replacement if that occurs.


Murphy last month selected Secretary of State Tahesha L. Way as lieutenant governor, replacing the late Sheila Oliver. Way will continue to serve as secretary of state as well. He did nominate Latina Jacquelyn A. Suárez as commissioner of the state’s powerful Department of Community Affairs, which was led by Oliver during her time as lieutenant governor.

Latina Civic PAC said Cruz-Perez would make a strong candidate for Congress or a statewide office along with U.S. District Judge Esther Salas, State Sen. M. Teresa Ruiz, the Majority Leader Latino Legislative Caucus chair, State Sen. Nellie Pou, the Majority Caucus chair; and Dr. Patricia Campos-Medina, a national labor and policy leader.

“There have been many media reports and public discussions including speculation about potential candidates [for U.S. Senate] for that seat in 2024,” a statement by Latina Civic PAC said. “But, sadly, none of the individuals discussed are members of New Jersey’s fastest growing minority population and largest non-white voting bloc, Latinos.

“In fact, Latinos make up 22% of the state’s population. Yet, Latinos and Latinas represent nearly 11% each of the state’s population but just 3.2% and 5% are elected officials. And not one Latina from New Jersey has ever been elected or appointed to statewide office or Congress.”

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