On Tuesday, Nov. 2, voters across New Jersey will head to the polls to cast ballots for their ballots to fill all 80 seats in the state Assembly and 40 seats in the state Senate.
The 34th Legislative District—which includes Clifton, East Orange, Montclair and Orange—is home to the most registered Democrats in the state. As of July, Democrats account for more than half of the 159,214 registered voters, while 9% identify as Republican.
Prior to 2001, the 34th had more of a Republican presence. But redistricting, as well as the growth of large minority populations in East Orange and Montclair, caused the district to go blue.
Here is a rundown of who is running for a seat in the State Legislature in the 34th District.
Democrat: Nia H. Gill (Incumbent)
Bio: An attorney from Montclair, Gill has served in the State Senate since 2002 and as the State Senate pro Tempore from 2010 to 2018. Her committee assignments have included law and public safety, legislative oversight and transportation. Prior to assuming the office of Senator, Gill was a State Assembly Member from 1994 to 2001.
North-JerseyNews.com Fact: Prior to becoming an elected official, Gill, who received her juris doctorate from Rutgers School of Law, served as a law clerk in the Essex County Superior Court and then as a public defender in Essex and Passaic counties.
Republican: Scott Pollack
Bio: A longtime Montclair resident, Pollack has worked as a financial planner, advising businesses and non-profit organizations for the last 40 years. He is the current chair of the Montclair Republican Committee.
North-JerseyNews.com Fact: Pollack has said his signature issue is the financial and personal empowerment of young people from disadvantaged backgrounds and that he believes in increasing educational choices and opportunities for them.
Democrat: Britnee Timberlake (Incumbent)
Bio: The West Orange resident has served on the State Assembly since 2018, when she was sworn in to replace Sheila Oliver, who took office as Lt. Gov of New Jersey. Her committee assignments have included education, science, innovation and technology, economic justice and equal employment opportunities, community development and affairs and housing. Prior to her legislative career, Timberlake served as a District 3 representative on the Essex County Board of Chosen Freeholders from 2015 to 2018, as well as housing chair for the Montclair NAACP.
Timberlake is also the founder and executive director of the Essex Community Land Trust, a non-profit that works to provide affordable housing.
North-JerseyNews.com Fact: Timberlake was the youngest freeholder to ever serve in Essex County. She was also the state’s only African American woman to be chosen to head a freeholder board.
Democrat: Thomas Giblin (Incumbent)
Bio: Born in East Orange and now a resident of Montclair, Giblin assumed office in 2006 and has served as a deputy majority leader in the State Assembly. He has worked on committees including higher education, regulated professions, transportation and independent authorities. His professional background also includes serving on the Essex County Board of Chosen Freeholders, Essex County Surrogate. He currently works as a labor union officer for the Local 68 Operating Engineers.
North-JerseyNews.com Fact: Giblin served in the New Jersey Air National Guard from 1966 to 1972 and attained the rank of Staff Sgt.
Republican: Tafari Anderson
Bio: A longtime Clifton resident, Anderson was an at-large member of the Clifton School Board from 2012 to 2018. He has also served as president of the Passaic County School Boards Association. His professional background includes working as a network engineer at St. Mary’s Hospital and as the current director of technology at Leonia Public Schools.
North-JerseyNews.com Fact: In 2018, Anderson mulled a run for a seat on the Clifton City Council but did not pursue it due to “unforeseen personal family matters.”
Republican: Irene DeVita
Bio: The Clifton resident previously ran for an Assembly seat in 2019 and currently works as a patternmaker for Michael Kors. She previously held positions with Anne Klein and Norma Kamali Incorporated.
North-JerseyNews.com Fact: DeVita has said her top three candidate issues are: property, sales and income tax changes, care for veterans and seniors and affordable daycare.