New NJ governor names transition team members

Democratic New Jersey Governor-elect Phil Murphy announced appointments to his transition committees on Monday. His appointments include several Princeton area residents.

Murphy praised the group for its diversity and talent, saying that some appointees offer “unique outside perspectives.” Women and minorities make up the majority of appointees. The group  includes numerous political insiders, former Corzine administration appointees, and some people from Chris Christie’s administration.

The list includes New Jersey Education Association president Marie Blistan, head of the state’s largest teacher’s union, Communications Workers of America state director Hetty Rosenstein, and Bridgeton Mayor Albert Kelly, president of the League of Municipalities.

Jennifer Velez, a Barnabas Health executive who served as commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Human Services under Christie and Corzine, is on the team. Woodbridge Mayor John McCormac, a member of Chiristie’s transition team who was the state treasurer under Gov. Jim McGreevey, is also part of the team. Kevin Ryan, the former commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Children and Families under Corzine, and Princeton resident Heather Howard, former commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services under Corzine, are also on the team.

Director of Transition Policy Committees – Jose Fernandez, former Assistant Secretary of State for Economic, Energy, and Business Affairs

Senior Advisor to the Transition for Strategy and Policy – Carl Van Horn, Ph.D., Director, John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University

Agriculture – Albert Kelly, Mayor of Bridgeton and President of the League of Municipalities; Alison Lewis, Global Chief Marketing Officer, Johnson & Johnson; David Rosenberg, Co-Founder and CEO, AeroFarms

Budget – Henry Coleman, Ph.D., Professor of Public Policy, Rutgers University; Amy Mansue, President, Southern Region at RWJBarnabas Health; John McCormac, Mayor of Woodbridge; David J. Rosen, former Legislative Budget and Finance Officer, New Jersey Office of Legislative Services

Education, Access, and Opportunity – Marie Blistan, President, New Jersey Education Association; Mark Biedron, immediate past President, New Jersey State Board of Education; Rev. Dr. William Howard Jr., former Chair, Rutgers University Board of Governors; Christopher Irving, Ed.D., President, Paterson Board of Education; Gayl Shepard, former President, Montclair Education Association; Jianping Wang, Ed.D., President, Mercer County Community College

Environment and Energy – David Crane, former President and CEO, NRG Energy; Jeanne Fox, former President, New Jersey Board of Public Utilities; Kathleen Frangione, former Senior Advisor, Senator John Kerry; Lisa Garcia, Vice President of Litigation for Healthy Communities, Earthjustice; John S. Watson Jr., Vice President, D&R Greenway Land Trust

Government Technology and Innovation – Jay Bhatti, Co-Founder, BrandProject; Jazlyn Carvajal, Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer, Stay On Your Daily; Tim Castano, President, New Start New Jersey; Judith Sheft, Associate Vice President of Technology and Enterprise Development, New Jersey Innovation Institute at NJIT; Avis Yates Rivers, President and CEO, Technology Concepts Group International

Healthcare – Omar Baker, M.D., Co-President, Chief Quality and Safety Officer and Director of Performance Improvement at Riverside Medical Group/ProHealthCare of New Jersey; Shereef Elnahal, M.D., Assistant Deputy Under Secretary for Health, Veterans Health Administration; Balpreet Grewal-Virk, Ph.D., Director of Community Engagement, Department of Population Health at Hackensack Meridian Health; Valerie Harr, former Director, Division of Medical Assistance and Health Services; Heather Howard, former Commissioner, New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services; Linda Schwimmer, President and CEO, New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute; Maria Vizcarrondo, former President and CEO, United Way of West Essex and West Hudson

Housing – Joseph Della Fave, Executive Director, Ironbound Community Corporation; Christiana Foglio, Founder and CEO, Community Investment Strategies; Michelle Richardson, Executive Director, Hudson County Economic Development Corporation; Renee Wolf Koubiadis, Executive Director, Anti-Poverty Network of New Jersey

Human and Children Services – Zillehuma Hasan, Founding Member and Executive Director, Wafa House, Inc.; Trish Morris-Yamba, Executive Director Emerita, Newark Day Center; Kevin Ryan, President and CEO, Covenant House International; Jennifer Velez, Senior Vice President of Community and Behavioral Health, RWJBarnabas Health; Joseph Youngblood II, Ph.D., Vice Provost and Dean, John S. Watson School of Public Service at Thomas Edison State University; Cecilia Zalkind, President and CEO, Advocates for Children of New Jersey

Labor and Workforce Development – Kevin Brown, New Jersey State Director and Vice President, 32BJ Service Employees International Union; Lizette Delgado, Political Director, Northeast Regional Council of Carpenters; Maria Heidkamp, Director, New Start Career Network; Greg Lalevee, Business Manager, International Union of Operating Engineers Local 825; James H. Moore, Jr., Ph.D., former Deputy Assistant Secretary, U.S. Department of Labor; Hetty Rosenstein, New Jersey State Director, Communication Workers of America; Nelida Valentin, Vice President, Princeton Area Community Foundation

Law and Justice – Rev. Cornell William Brooks, former President and CEO, NAACP; Ronald Chen, Co-Dean and Distinguished Professor of Law, Rutgers Law School; The Hon. Paul Fishman, former U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey; Ricardo Solano Jr., former First Assistant Attorney General of New Jersey; Tahesha Way, former Freeholder Director, Passaic County Board of Chosen Freeholders

Law and Justice, Immigration Subcommittee – Johanna Calle, Program Coordinator, New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice; Sara Cullinane, Director, Make the Road New Jersey; Law and Justice, Social Justice Subcommittee; Ehsan F. Chowdhry, President, New Jersey Muslim Lawyers Association; Ryan Haygood, President and CEO, New Jersey Institute for Social Justice

Military and Veteran Affairs – Col. Jeff Cantor, Councilman, Marlboro Township; Maj. Gen. Maria A. Falca-Dodson, U.S.A.F., ret., Vice President of Strategic Initiatives, MDAdvantage; Former Cpt. Sue Fulton, Executive Director, Women in the Service Change Initiative; Lt. Col. Kamal Singh Kalsi, D.O., FACEP, U.S.A.R., Medical Officer for 404th Civil Affairs Battalion, Fort Dix, New Jersey; Sgt. Maj. Jennifer Long, SGM Jennifer Long, ret., Financial Advisor, Integrated Financial Concepts

Stronger and Fairer Economy – Demelza Baer, Senior Counsel and Director, Economic Mobility Initiative at the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice; John Ballantyne, Executive Secretary-Treasurer, Northeast Regional Council of Carpenters; Vivian Cox Fraser, President and CEO, Urban League of Essex County; Luis O. De La Hoz, Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors, Statewide Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey; Julie Diaz, State Political Director, 32BJ Services Employees International Union; Laurence Downes, Chairman of the Board and CEO, New Jersey Resources; Carl Van Horn, Ph.D., Director, John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University

Transportation and Infrastructure – Imam Wahy-ud Deen Shareef, former Senior Advisor and Director of Logistics and Industrial Opportunities, Mayor Cory Booker; Pam Fischer, former Director, New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic Safety; Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti, former Executive Director, New Jersey Turnpike Authority; Jack Lettiere, former Commissioner, New Jersey Department of Transportation; Ray Pocino, Vice President and Eastern Regional Manager, Laborers’ International Union of North America; Martin Robins, Director Emeritus, Alan M. Voorhees Transportation Center

Urban and Regional Growth – Leecia Eve, former Deputy Secretary for Economic Development for New York; Peter Kasabach, Executive Director, New Jersey Future; Kimberly McLain, President and CEO, Newark Alliance; Preston Pinkett, Chairman and CEO, City National Bank; Richard Roper, Retired Director, Planning Department at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey; Dawn Zimmer, Mayor of Hoboken.


  1. Murphy’s appointees read like a list of political liberals, the tax & spend wastefully group who have driven NJ into debt over the years.

  2. Corzine 2.0. Expect more of the same. Having head of NJEA on committee is like allowing the fox to run the hen house. Yikes.

  3. Thank goodness we will be rid of Christie. The Trump party will not be in control of things in NJ, though Trumponomics and all his other misguided policies will affect NJ negatively. The GOP and Trump are setting us up for another economic collapse.

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