Assemblywoman Celeste Riley Receives 2013 Legislative Excellence Award
SALEM, N.J. — On Oct. 17, the New Jersey Council of County Colleges presented its 2013 Legislative Excellence Award to Assemblywoman Celeste Riley for her exemplary support of New Jersey’s 19 community colleges.
“The New Jersey Council of County Colleges’ Legislative Excellence Award is an honor bestowed each year on selected legislators who have served as exceptional advocates for the state’s 19 community colleges,” said NJCCC Chairman Bakari Lee, Esq. “We truly appreciate Assemblywoman Riley’s passion and commitment to our community colleges and our students throughout the state.”
Riley was especially recognized for being the primary sponsor of A3546, legislation that made important amendments to New Jersey’s college student health insurance statutes.
“Assemblywoman Riley was a remarkable champion for community colleges on this issue,” NJCCC President Dr. Lawrence Nespoli said. “She worked tirelessly throughout the closing days of the legislative session in late June in order to maintain access and affordability for our students throughout the state. This legislation will save full-time community college students approximately $1,500 per year.”
Assemblywoman Celeste M. Riley was sworn into the General Assembly on March 16, 2009, where she represents New Jersey’s Third Legislative District. Assemblywoman Riley is the first woman to represent this district in the New Jersey State Legislature.
She serves as Chairwoman of the Assembly Higher Education Committee, Vice-Chair of the Tourism and Arts Committee and is a member of the Transportation, Public Works and Independent Authorities Committee. In the past she has served as Vice-Chair of the Assembly Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee and has served on the Health and Senior Services and Housing and Local Government Committees.
Assemblywoman Celeste Riley was named “Legislator of the Year” by The Garden State Wine Growers for her legislative efforts to promote the wine industry. She also received the “Citizen of the Year” award by Salem County Chamber of Commerce in recognition for her efforts to improve the economic development and business climate for Salem County and surrounding areas. She received the 2012 Distinguished Legislator Award from the New Jersey Food Council Committee for Good government for her leadership and support of New Jersey’s businesses and food industry. Riley has also been awarded numerous awards for advocacy and leadership for women’s issues including recognition from, “I’m Free Ministries” and by Salem County Women’s Services with its “Person of the Year” award for her legislative efforts on behalf of domestic violence and sexual assault victims.
A long time resident of Bridgeton, Assemblywoman Riley got her start in public service by serving as a member of Bridgeton City Council and quickly rose to become the governing body’s president. As Council President, she worked on several priorities, including the city clean up initiative, “Building a Better Bridgeton,” which aimed to encourage community involvement. She served as the council’s liaison to the Bridgeton Library and Historical Commission and served on the Main Street Design, Downtown Steering, and Central Business District and Multi-Dwelling Complex Security committees.
A graduate of Cumberland Regional High School, she earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in music from LaSalle University and holds a Master’s Degree in Arts Administration from Drexel University. Currently, Assemblywoman Riley is a teacher at the Greenwich-Stow Creek Partnership Elementary School in Greenwich-Stow Creek Township.
The New Jersey Council of County Colleges is the state association representing New Jersey’s 19 community colleges. As an independent, trustee-headed organization that joins the leadership of trustees and presidents, the Council is the voice of the community college sector before the state legislature and other branches of government.