Governor Phil Murphy announced on Tuesday the 21 members of a new commission that will advise his administration on the timing and preparation for New Jersey’s recovery from the COVID-19 shutdown.
The Governor’s Restart and Recovery Commission includes experts in health care, business, finance, academics, and economics. The commission will be co-chaired by former Princeton University President Shirley Tilghman and Ken Frazier, CEO of Merck and Co.
“With this task force we are bringing together some of the sharpest minds our state and nation have to offer,” Murphy said. “As I have said from the start, public health creates economic health and these individuals will help us decide when and how to restart the economy to best benefit both.”
The commission will begin holding virtual meetings immediately to help the administration work on developing plans to restart the economy, Murphy said. One of the commission’s first tasks will be to advise the governor on the timing of the restart, considering predetermined public health metrics.
“I am eager to participate in Governor Murphy’s Restart and Recovery Commission,” Tilghman said of her appointment. “Reinvigorating the economy of New Jersey while protecting the safety and health of its residents is the most important challenge we now face.”
Among the major issues to be addressed by the commission will be immediate questions surrounding the safe restart of society. The commission will address both short-term and long-term economic issues as well as areas such as public health, workforce issues, and transportation. Officials said the commission also will develop strategies for how the state and federal government can support the economic recovery of the private sector and identify critical needs for federal support and intervention. Members will advise the administration on potential investments to speed the recovery and position New Jersey’s economy for long-term success. Officials said the commission will also identify opportunities for various sectors to be rebuilt to be well-positioned for both the present and the future, while promoting equity for disadvantaged communities.
“In this challenging and unprecedented time, it is clear that COVID-19 poses serious threats to the health and well-being of people and businesses including those in New Jersey. As a company proudly headquartered in New Jersey, Merck recognizes our responsibility to help the state respond to this pandemic.” said Frazier. “I am confident that with input from thoughtful people, including scientific and healthcare experts, we will be able to recommend a responsible path forward to reopen the economy while continuing to keep New Jersey citizens safe. Together, we will win this fight against the viral outbreak.”
The focus of the commission will be both national and statewide, officials said. Three members of the commission, former U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation President Richard Besser, and Chief of Staff George Helmy will also serve on the regional task force created earlier this month that will include representatives from seven states.
Officials said the commission will stay empaneled as long as necessary to inform the restart and recovery of our state’s economy.
Members of the Commission:
Dr. Shirley M. Tilghman (Co-Chair) – Professor of molecular biology and public policy and President Emeritus of Princeton University
Kenneth Frazier (Co-Chair) – Chairman and CEO of Merck & Co., Inc.
Dr. Ben Bernanke – Distinguished fellow in residence at the Brookings Institution and former chairman of the board of governors of the Federal Reserve System
Dr. Richard Besser – President and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and former acting director for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Evelyn McGee Colbert – Founding board member and president of the board of Montclair Film and vice president of Spartina Productions
Tony Coscia – Chairman of the board of directors of the National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak), partner and executive committee member of Windels Marx Lane & Mittendorf, LLP law firm and chairman of Suez North America Inc.
Jessica Gonzalez – Founder and chief executive offficer of InCharged, VendX, and Lux-UVC
Dr. Jonathan Holloway – Incoming president of Rutgers University and former provost of Northwestern University
Lisa P. Jackson – Vice president of environment, policy and social initiatives at Apple Inc., former administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and former commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection
Jeh Johnson – Former U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security and partner at the law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, LLP
Charles Lowrey – Chairman and CEO of Prudential Financial, Inc.
Denise Morrison – Founder of Denise Morrison & Associates, LLC, and a senior advisor for PSP Partners. Former president and CEO of The Campbell Soup Company.
Dr. William Rodgers – Professor of public policy and chief economist at the Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University. Former chief economist at the U.S. Department of Labor
Neera Tanden – President and CEO of the Center for American Progress and the CEO of the Center for American Progress Action Fund
Reverend Dr. Regena Thomas – Director of the Human Rights and Community Relations Department of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and former New Jersey Secretary of State
Richard Trumka – President of the AFL-CIO
Lieutenant Governor Sheila Oliver* – Lt. Governor, State of New Jersey
George Helmy* – Chief of Staff, Office of Governor Phil Murphy
Judith Persichilli* – New Jersey Department of Health Commissioner
Matt Platkin* – Chief Counsel, Office of Governor Phil Murphy
Kathleen Frangione* – Chief Policy Advisor, Office of Governor Phil Murphy