The widow of Assembly GOP leader Alex DeCroce has been sworn in to fill the legislative seat left vacant by his sudden death.

BettyLou DeCroce was sworn in Thursday to represent the 26th District, which includes towns in Essex, Morris and Passaic counties

The 59-year-old Parsippany resident has retired as deputy commissioner of the state Department of Community Affairs. Her 75-year-old husband collapsed and died at the Statehouse as the lame-duck legislative session drew to a close on Jan. 9.

DeCroce was sworn in by Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver on the same day a Senate panel was to vote on an enhanced crime victims' rights law named after her late husband.

BettyLou DeCroce must win the Republican nomination and prevail in the November election to finish the two-year term.


(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)