Montclair resident Sen. Nia Gill (D-Essex), an outspoken proponent of heath care reform, said Wednesday night she will definitely run for Congress in the 10th District, seeking to take the seat left open after the death earlier this month of Congressman Donald M. Payne Sr.
The 10th District includes parts of Essex, Union and Hudson counties.
Gill was attending an event at the popular Hat City Kitchen in Orange to celebrate the second anniversary of national health care reform signed into law by President Barack Obama on March 23, 2010.
Gill was a co-sponsor of legislation that would create a health insurance exchange, an online marketplace where consumers and small businesses will comparison shop for health coverage in 2014, as mandated by the federal Affordable Care Act. It was approved by the New Jersey Legislature and is sitting on the desk of Gov. Chris Christie, who has yet to say whether he will sign it.
If she won the seat, Gill would become the first New Jersey Democratic woman to serve in Congress in 50 years.
Other big Essex County names also have announced plans to run for the seat including Payne's son, Newark Council President Donald Payne Jr., Irvington Mayor Wayne Smith and Newark Councilman Ronald C. Rice.
"Bloomfield will be a large part of this election," said Bloomfield Councilman Nick Joanow, who predicted that most of the candidates "will be looking for favor in Bloomfield."
"Whoever wins in the primary will wind up being the delegate," he said.
Linda Federico-O'Murchu and Marilyn Joyce Lehren contributed to this report.