February 4, 1960
Cumberland County, New Jersey
|Alma mater||La Salle University (A.B.)
Drexel University (M.S.)
Celeste M. Riley is an American Democratic Party politician who has served in the New Jersey General Assembly since 2009, where she represents the 3rd legislative district. Riley is the first woman to represent this district in the New Jersey Legislature.
Riley is a resident of Bridgeton, and is a member of the parish of The Holy Cross where she cantors. She is a member of Soroptimists International of Cumberland County, an organization devoted to fundraising for various woman's issues and scholarships. First elected to the City Council in 2006, she later became City Council President. While on council she helped create the community pride program Building a Better Bridgeton (B3).
Riley earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in music from La Salle University and a Master's degree from Drexel University in arts administration. She teaches technology for the Greenwich-Stow Creek Partnership Schools in Cumberland County.1
In April of 2012, Riley was awarded the "Love Shouldn't Hurt" award from the I'm Free Mnistries, a Project of Gererations, Inc.  In 2011, Salem County Woman's Center recognized Assemblywoman Riley as "Person of the Year" for her efforts in support of victims of domestic violence.2
Assemblywoman Riley serves in the Assembly as Chair of Higher Education, Vice Chair of Tourism, and member of the Transportation, Public Work and Independent Authorities Committee. 1
Riley sponsored legislation (A-1491) that tightens restrictions on repeat domestic violence offenders by raising bail requirements.3 She also sponsored A1561, which creates a diversionary program designed to educate teens on the dangers of "sexting" instead of automatically criminalizing the behavior.4
Riley sponsored legislation such as, A-3063 and A-3064 that would enhance the State's farm winery industry and could bring more tourism to the area.5
The Assemblywoman sponsored legislation that would have increased State support during State Fiscal Year 2011 for the Pharmaceutical Assistance to the Aged and Disabled Program, the Senior Gold Prescription Discount Program and the Homestead Property Tax Rebate/Credit program. Assemblywoman Riley has passed legislation that protects assisted living residents from eviction for using Medicaid, after reports from the state Office of the Public Advocate indicated that certain facilities were evicting patients after they exhausted their personal finances and were eligible for Medicaid, in favor of private-pay patients.6
In New Jersey, it is no longer legal for employers to specify in their job ads that unemployed persons will not be considered. Assemblywoman Riley was a primary sponsor in legislation that bans overt discrimination against the jobless in print or online was signed into law March 29, 2011, by Gov. Chris Christie and is the first legislation of its kind in the United States. Employers would face a penalty of $1,000 for the first offense and $5,000 for subsequent offenses.7
In recognition of the importance of the American Red Cross, she was the primary sponsor of legislation, signed by Gov. Christie, that designates March as "American Red Cross" month for the State of New Jersey.8
In the 2011 apportionment based on the results of the 2010 United States Census, Dominick DiCicco was moved from the 4th Legislative District into District 3. John J. Burzichelli (with 25,172 votes) and Riley (23,960) won re-election, defeating DiCicco (20,268) and his running mate Bob Villare (20,528)9 DiCicco's loss made his seat the only gain by the Democrats in the Assembly in the 2011 election cycle.10
Each of the forty districts in the New Jersey Legislature has one representative in the New Jersey Senate and two members in the New Jersey General Assembly. The other representatives from the 3rd District for the 2010-2011 Legislative Session are:
- Assemblywoman Riley's legislative web page, New Jersey Legislature. Accessed January 27, 2010.
- Staff. "Salem County Women's Services to honor Assemblywoman Celeste Riley", Today's Sunbeam, October 8, 2011. Accessed October 16, 2011.
- Arrue, Karina L. "3 bills to help victims of domestic violence", The Jersey Journal, October 18, 2010. Accessed June 19, 2011. "A-1491, sponsored by Assemblywoman Celeste Riley, D-Salem, imposes tougher bail restrictions on persons charged with violating domestic violence restraining orders."
- Pritchett, Kristina. "New legislation aims to replace criminal charges with counseling in cases of teen sexting", Gloucester County Times, June 13, 2011. Accessed October 11, 2011. "Juveniles caught sending sexually explicit photographs via their cell phones would not face criminal prosecution but rather intense education on the ramifications under a bill sponsored by Assemblywomen Pamela Lampitt, Celeste Riley and Valerie Vainieri Huttle and advanced by a Senate Panel on Monday."
- Connolly, Matt. "New Jersey wineries see advantages in bills that would let them make more and sell more widely", The Times (Trenton), August 16, 2010. Accessed June 19, 2011.
- via Associated Press. "Assisted-living bill advancing in NJ Legislature", The Trentonian, November 28, 2010. Accessed June 19, 2011.
- Shipkowski, Bruce via Associated Press. "NJ employers can't discriminate against unemployed", Bloomberg Businessweek, April 25, 2011. Accessed June 19, 2011. "The bill prohibits employers from publishing job advertisements -- in print or online -- that state that unemployed individuals can't apply for the position. Proponents say the measure, which may be the first of its kind in the United States, addresses a growing national problem. This law is very simply the right thing to do for thousands of New Jerseyans who, through no fault of their own, found themselves without a job in recent years,' said Assemblywoman Celeste Riley, D- Bridgeton, who was among the bill's primary sponsors in that chamber.
- Staff. "Riley measure would designate March as 'American Red Cross Month' in New Jersey each year", Today's Sunbeam, March 8, 2011. Accessed June 19, 2011. "“The American Red Cross serves an essential role in our state,” said Riley.“When a disaster strikes, the Red Cross is there to provide life-saving blood, first aid, and the comfort of a helping hand. It is easy to forget how important the Red Cross is until a disaster strikes. Setting aside each March as ‘American Red Cross Month’ will hopefully remind everyone about the truly extraordinary work that this organization provides.”"
- Official List Candidate Returns for General Assembly For November 2011 General Election, New Jersey Department of State, December 6, 2011. Accessed December 12, 2011.
- Staff. "N.J. legislative elections results: Democrats fend off GOP funding, Christie campaigning", The Star-Ledger, November 9, 2011. Accessed December 12, 2011. "The Democrats’ sole gain came thanks to redistricting. Assemblyman Domenick DiCicco (R-Gloucester), the only Republican to win a Democrat-held seat two years ago, was shifted into a district with two Democratic incumbents and immediately faced an uphill battle to stay in the Legislature."
- Assemblywoman Riley's legislative web page, New Jersey Legislature
- New Jersey Legislature financial disclosure forms