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NJ Assembly Speaker Honored
with Gold Medallion
For Immediate Release: April 12, 2001 Contact:

Hope Gruzlovic

Assembly Speaker Jack Collins presented with Gold Medallion
Assembly Speaker Jack Collins (center) was presented with the New Jersey Agricultural Society's highest honor, the Gold Medallion, by Society President Pam Mount (left) and Society Secretary-Treasurer and NJ Secretary of Agriculture Art Brown, Jr.

One of the most influential members of the state legislature, Assembly Speaker Jack Collins has been a friend of New Jersey agriculture for many years. Collins is serving his eighth General Assembly term. He has served as Assembly Speaker since 1996 and was majority leader from 1993 to 1996. As the third highest ranking elected official, Collins serves as the Acting Governor when Acting Governor and Senate President DiFrancesco is out of the state. He also sets the Assembly's legislative agenda, selects committee chairmen and their committee members and presides over the Assembly's legislative sessions. An active participant in the Society's Annual Farm Tour for Legislators, Collins saw first-hand the crop devastation caused by the drought of 1999 during our tour in Somerset County. Before the tour was over Collins announced his intention to work with Agriculture Committee chair Jack Gibson to sponsor legislation providing $20 million in drought relief to New Jersey's farmers. Following Hurricane Floyd four weeks later, the drought relief package was incorporated into the Emergency Disaster Relief Bill that was enacted and resulted in the agricultural industry receiving $20 million last spring. Many of those farming in New Jersey today would not have recovered from 1999's devastating losses were it not for Collins's leadership. Collins was also an active participant in securing the most recent amendment to the Right to Farm Act, as well as support for farmland preservation and open space retention. In addition to his work for agriculture, Collins has been a key player in the effort to reform New Jersey's School Funding Law and spearheaded the drive to identify and provide a stable source of funding for the construction of school facilities throughout the state. He has also championed legislation for aid to persons with developmental disabilities, senior citizen tax relief and job creation initiatives. A former basketball star at Glassboro State College, now Rowan University, where he scored more than 1,000 points during his four years, Collins received both his B.A and M.A. from Rowan, and has been on the faculty there since 1969. Somehow during all this activity with Rowan, Collins also found time to attend Rutgers School of Law, where he received his law degree in 1982. Collins and his wife Betsey have four children. In keeping with the tradition of the Society, which, since its founding in 1781, has recognized meritorious service to the industry, the Board of Trustees of the New Jersey Agricultural Society takes great pride in awarding JACK COLLINS, with its highest honor, THE GOLD MEDALLION.