(TRENTON) – Assemblyman Jamel Holley (D-Union) has been named vice chairman of the Assembly Homeland Security and State Preparedness Committee by Speaker Craig Coughlin.

Holley joins Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle, who will chair the committee.

Holley, who represents Elizabeth, Hillside, Roselle and Union, said security threats are an unfortunate reality, and especially worrisome in parts of his district, and said the state’s ability to identify and prevent threats, and protect its residents from potential attacks is a top priority.

Holley’s district includes an area around the Turnpike’s Exit 13A that has been dubbed by FBI and government officials from the state as “the most dangerous two miles in America” for terrorist targets. The area, between Elizabeth and Newark, includes the largest port on the East Coast, Newark Airport, major rail lines, densely populated cities and chemical and petroleum plants.

“The threat of an attack is a significant issue affecting the state and its residents, especially those who live near potential targets,” said Holley. “It is vital that we are vigilant and united as we face these challenges head on. I look forward to working with Asw. Vainieri Huttle and the rest of the committee on proactive measures that will help ensure the safety of all New Jerseyans.”

Holley will also serve on the Assembly Tourism & Gaming Committee.

Holley currently serves as the Director of Public Works for the Township of Irvington, and formerly served as councilman-at-large and mayor of the Borough of Roselle.

Holley received a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice from New Jersey City University in 2002, and a Master of Public Administration from Kean University in 2006. In 2004, Holley was one of 40 people throughout the country to be honored by The Network Journal Magazine for his achievements and contributions to the African American community.