A Republican from central New Jersey is the newest member of the state Assembly.

Donna Simon of Readington Township was sworn in on Monday. She assumes the 16th Legislative District seat of fellow Republican Peter Biondi, who died in November -- two days after winning his eighth legislative term.

The 16th district includes towns in Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex and Somerset counties. Republican leaders there chose Simon over three other hopefuls during a special party convention held Jan. 19.

Simon will hold the seat until November. An election will then be held to determine who completes Biondi's term, which expires in January 2013.

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