Murphy appoints 23-member Wealth Disparity Task Force

The Wealth Disparity Task Force, which was announced on Juneteenth earlier this year, was formally created by executive order Tuesday, Gov. Phil Murphy announced.

The 23-member task force, which will advise the Murphy administration on strategies aimed at addressing the various causes and effects of wealth disparity in the state, will be co-chaired by Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver, Department of Banking and Insurance Commissioner Marlene Caride, Rutgers University President Jonathan Holloway and Council of New Jersey Grantmakers CEO Maria Vizcarrondo.

In addition to Oliver and Caride, the task force includes seven other Murphy administration officials or appointees.

The task force, which will consist of working groups on the economy, housing, criminal justice, education and health, will prioritize efforts toward equity among all members of the New Jersey community by studying the causes of the inequality that has prevented the state from reaching its full potential in the past, state officials said. By working to achieve inclusion of groups and individuals who have previously been marginalized, state officials hope the task force will create comprehensive strategies and solutions to achieve a fairer distribution of wealth in New Jersey.

Administration officials say the action fulfills a commitment from Murphy’s 2020 State of the State address and will work toward combating longstanding wealth gaps based on race and ethnicity.

“Income inequality is one of the preeminent and far-reaching issues in today’s society,” Murphy said. “We cannot have a stronger and fairer New Jersey without examining the causes of our wealth gaps and without establishing strategies to combat this long-standing problem. I look forward to working with the Wealth Disparity Task Force and continuing our administration’s efforts to create an economy that works for every New Jerseyan.”

Oliver, who also serves as the commissioner of Department of Community Affairs, indicated the task force is much needed and long overdue.

“I want to thank Gov. Murphy for taking action to respond to the racial wealth disparities that have been plaguing our Black and Hispanic or Latino residents since New Jersey gained statehood in 1787,” she said. “The root causes of these disparities have taken centuries to establish within our system and they will not be fixed overnight. This task force and the working groups established within it will work to address the economic, housing, criminal justice and health inequities that exist.”

Other members of the task force:

  • Angelica Allen-McMillan, commissioner, New Jersey Department of Education
  • Robert Asaro-Angelo, commissioner, Department of Labor & Workforce Development
  • Brian Bridges, secretary, Office of the Secretary of Higher Education
  • Andrew Bruck, acting attorney general
  • Michellene Davis, CEO, National Medical Fellowships
  • The Rev. Eric Dobson, deputy director, Fair Share Housing Center
  • The Rev. Bolivar Flores, pastoral outreach director, New Jersey Reentry Corp.
  • Jeannine Frisby LaRue, senior vice president, Kaufman Zita Group
  • Diane Hill, assistant chancellor for university-community partnerships, Rutgers University-Newark
  • Raymond Lamboy, CEO, Latin American Economic Development Inc
  • Brandon McKoy, president, New Jersey Policy Perspective
  • Gary Melton, manager, Office of Human and Civil Rights, Equity, and Governance, NJEA Executive Office
  • Dr. Jubril Oyeyemi, medical director of care management initiatives, Camden Coalition
  • Judith Persichilli, commissioner, Department of Health
  • Cuqui Rivera, program coordinator, Latino Action Network Foundation
  • Zakiya Smith Ellis, chief policy adviser, Office of Gov. Phil Murphy
  • Carlos Valentin, executive director, ASPIRAInc. of New Jersey
  • Rachel Wainer Apter, director, New Jersey Division on Civil Rights
  • Cid Wilson, CEO, Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility