About Nellie

Senator Nellie Pou proudly represents the 35th Legislative District in the New Jersey State Senate.  She first won election to the State Legislature in November 1997 as a member of the General Assembly, where she served for a period of 14 years (1997-2012).  She was first elected to the State Senate in 2011 and re-elected in 2013 and 2017.  She holds the dual distinctions of being the first woman and the first Latina to represent the 35th District in the State Legislature.  She is a veteran of the City of Paterson’s municipal administration, having served in various capacities for over three decades, including as Director of Human Resources.

In the Senate, she serves as Chair of Commerce Committee, Vice-Chair of the Higher Education Committee, member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, member of the Joint Committee on Economic Justice and Equal Employment Opportunity, and Chair of the Legislative Latino Caucus.  She has prime-sponsored landmark legislation signed into law, such as the “Human Trafficking Prevention, Protection and Treatment Act” which broadens the definition of trafficking and increases penalties for this crime putting New Jersey at the forefront of combating forced servitude in the form of labor and prostitution which affects underage teenagers, runaway or homeless youth and others living on the margins of society.   The most recent legislation signed into law allows New Jersey DREAMers – undocumented students brought to the U.S. as children – to pay in-state tuition rates at the state’s higher education institutions affording them the opportunity to pursue higher education and fulfill their dreams.

While a member of the General Assembly, Ms. Pou served on the Assembly Appropriations Committee for over 10 years, including six years as its Chair, facilitating the passage of landmark legislation pertaining to stem cell research, needle exchange, autism treatment, and other aspects of social and fiscal policy.  She also served as member of the Assembly Budget Committee and the Bicameral Joint Budget Oversight Committee, where she sponsored and supported initiatives to create jobs, provide property tax relief, and stimulate economic growth, in addition to prime-sponsoring six of ten economic recovery bills addressing the economic crisis of 2008.  Senator Pou has served as Chair of the Legislative Latino Caucus since 2006 promoting inclusion of Latinos, women, and other minorities in electoral politics, civil service, State procurement process; she has also raised awareness of the importance of participating in the Census and other civic domains. 

Since in office, Senator Pou has navigated many of her prime-sponsored bills into law in the areas of civil rights, consumer affairs, economy and jobs, education, environment, health, housing, children and families, non-profit organizations and military/veteran affairs. 

Senator Pou is also a member of the National Council of State Legislators, the National Order of Women Legislators (NOWL)/National Foundation of Women Legislators (NFWL), Women in Government, the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO), the Council of State Government, amongst others.