The man who has represented parts of West Hudson in the State Assembly for the last 14 years has been tapped to lead the New Jersey Sports & Exposition Authority.

The NJSEA’s Board of Commissioners last week appointed Assemblyman Vincent Prieto as the agency’s new President and CEO. Prieto will assume his new role Feb. 26.

He will resign his seat in the Assembly and his position as Secaucus Construction Code Official.

“The board’s action taken today continues the smooth transition that began when the NJSEA merged with the former New Jersey Meadowlands Commission in 2015,” NJSEA Board Chairman Mike Ferguson said. “This move is especially appropriate as Prieto crafted the legislation that successfully combined the two agencies, in keeping with his commitment to streamlined and efficient government.”

“I’m very proud to accept this position and undertake the great responsibility of becoming the next President and CEO of the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority,” said Prieto, a Secaucus resident and public servant for the past 25 years. “As a Meadowlands resident for over 30 years, I’m intimately familiar with and passionate about the vital importance of this region as both an economic engine and environmental jewel.

“The Meadowlands is a hub of economic growth and development, a world-class entertainment destination that has hosted the pinnacle of sporting events such as the Super Bowl, and the site of a remarkable environmental turnaround. The potential for the Meadowlands District to continue to thrive is unlimited and I’m excited to play an active role in the process.

Among the many challenges Prieto will face is the American Dream project — once known as Meadowlands Xanadu — which kicked off 15 years ago. The original company building the project went bankrupt in 2007 and two years later, when the economic crisis that brought down Lehman Brothers hit, construction halted again.

The Triple Five Group, a conglomerate that builds and runs shopping malls across North America, took over in 2013. Construction again stopped in late 2016, but resumed last summer.

Triple Five says American Dream is now slated to open in March 2019.

As an Assemblyman for the past 14 years, including four years as speaker, Prieto has sponsored dozens of bills. He served as speaker of the Assembly from 2014-2017; budget chairman from 2012-2013; and deputy majority whip from 2006-2011.

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Kevin A. Canessa Jr. is the editor of and broadcaster at The Observer, a place where he has served on and off since 2006. He is responsible for the editorial content of the newspaper and website, the production of the e-Newspaper, writing several stories per week (including the weekly editorial), conducting live broadcasts on Facebook Live, including a weekly recap of the news — and much more behind the scenes. Between 2006 and 2008, he introduced the newspaper to its first-ever blog — which included podcasts, audio and video. Originally from Jersey City, Kevin lived in Kearny until 2004, lived in Port St. Lucie. Florida, for four years until February 2016 and in March of that year, he moved back to West Hudson to return to The Observer full time. Click Here to send Kevin an email.