Governor announces members of Restart and Recovery Commission

File photos Commission co-Chairs Ken Frazier and Shirley Tilghman.

Gov. Phil Murphy announced the members of his Restart and Recovery Commission, which will help guide him in the process of reopening the state.

Murphy said the group is unrivaled in terms of its diversity of experiences, perspectives and expertise.

“It is composed of experts in a multitude of fields — from academia to industry to the arts to labor, and so much more,” he said. “They bring passion and vision to the table. And, if there’s anything we need right now, it’s both.”

The group will include 16 members and five ex-officio members from the Murphy administration. It will be co-chaired by Merck Chair and CEO Ken Frazier and former Princeton President Shirley Tilghman.

News of the group was first reported on on Monday.

Murphy said he has asked the commission to immediately begin remote discussions, because the questions surrounding when and how we ensure a safe restart of our economy and society are also immediate.

“They will address core economic issues, but also issues which directly impact economic health — notably public health, workforce issues and transportation,” he said. “And, they will seek ways to sustain our recovery by maximizing future federal support, especially for our small business sector.”

Murphy said the commission’s work will not just be on the weeks and months ahead, but on potential long-term investments. More than anything, Murphy said the commission will continue what he has preached throughout his term as governor.

“For the past two years, we have been focused on creating a new New Jersey economy, one built on reclaiming our place as the world’s leader in innovation and discovery,” he said. “That focus is not going to change.”

Here are the members:


  • Ken Frazier, Merck chairman and CEO;
  • Shirley Tilghman, president emerita of Princeton University and professor of molecular biology & public policy.

Sitting members

  • Ben Bernanke, former two-term chair of the Federal Reserve and distinguished fellow in residence with the Economic Studies Program at the Brookings Institution;
  • Rich Besser, CEO and president of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and former acting director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention;
  • Evelyn McGee Colbert, founding board member and president of Montclair Film, and vice president of Spartina Productions;
  • Tony Coscia, chairman of Amtrak, partner and executive committee member of Windels Marx Lane & Mittendorf, and chairman of Suez North America Inc.;
  • Jessica Gonzalez, founder and CEO of InCharged and founder of Experience VendX.
  • Jonathan Holloway, incoming Rutgers University president;
  • Lisa Jackson, vice president of environment, policy and social initiatives at Apple Inc. and former administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under President Barack Obama;
  • Jeh Johnson, former secretary of homeland security under Obama, and partner at the law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP;
  • Charlie Lowrey, chairman and CEO of Prudential Financial Inc.;
  • Denise Morrison, founder of Denise Morrison & Associates, senior adviser for PSP Partners and former CEO and president of Campbell Soup Co.;
  • Bill Rodgers, professor of public policy and chief economist at the Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University and former chief economist at the U.S. Department of Labor;
  • Neera Tanden, president of the Center for American Progress and CEO of the Center for American Progress Action Fund;
  • The Rev. Dr. Regena Thomas, director of the Human Rights and Community Relations Department of the American Federation of Teachers and former New Jersey secretary of state;
  • Richard Trumka, national president of the AFL-CIO.

Ex-officio members

  • Sheila Oliver, lieutenant governor;
  • Judith Persichilli, health commissioner;
  • George Helmy, chief of staff;
  • Matt Platkin, chief counsel;
  • Kathleen Frangione, chief policy adviser.

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