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Former Princeton University President Shirley Tilghman to co-chair state restart and recovery commission

Princeton University President Emeritus Shirley Tilghman.
Princeton University Office of Communications,
by Denise Applewhite. File photo.

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

*Ex Officio

One Comment

  1. Why is she on this committee? She and Murphy already sat on a committee together in his role as gov he sits on the board of PU. Why are our Govs not more critical of PU in terms of their lack of investment in our schools and their low tax rates and illegal non-profit status as multi billion profit machines. Also when PU is really a finance machine whose endowment is invested in BigOil and anything the twill produce profit.. Is it really an educational institution ? It is really a fundraising machine that they participated in finance, in growing its endowment and assets tax free … Is she on this committee bc she or Princeton donated to Murphy is some way? What experience does she have that would make her qualified to sit on this board – ditto for some of the others who are on here.. Why are they on here?
    Cuomo it seems all of his appointees to boards like this are just people who gave him money… Shouldn’t the people on this board be more directly connected to public health and virology and to economic development. Princeton does not pay its fair share of taxes and received a lot of donations and perks so they don’t really know much about real economic development, since most of their financial success is due to lobbying… Why has she been selected for this role?

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