Governor Phil Murphy

Governor Murphy Names Commission to Advise on Restart and Recovery of State Economy


TRENTON – Governor Phil Murphy today signed an executive order creating a commission charged with advising the administration on the timing and preparation for New Jersey’s recovery from the COVID-19 shutdown.

The Governor’s Restart and Recovery Commission will be comprised of 21 members, all with a vast wealth of experience in health care, business, finance, academics, and economics and will be chaired by Princeton Professor and former University President Shirley Tilghman and Ken Frazier, Chief Executive Officer of Merck and Co., Inc. 

“With this task force we are bringing together some of the sharpest minds our state and nation have to offer,” said Governor Murphy.  “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 virtual meetings immediately as the administration tackles the work of restarting the state and putting New Jerseyans back to work. Among the Commission’s first tasks will be to advise the governor on the timing of the restart as it aligns with predetermined public health metrics.

"I am eager to participate in Governor Murphy's Restart and Recovery Commission,” Tilghman said.  “Reinvigorating the economy of New Jersey while protecting the safety and health of its residents is the most important challenge we now face."

“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.”

Among the major issues to be addressed by the Commission will be immediate questions surrounding the safe restart of society. The Commission will also address both short-term and long-term economic issues as well as areas such as public health, workforce issues, and transportation. The Commission 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 that will speed the recovery and position New Jersey’s economy for long-term success.  Where possible, the Commission will identify opportunities for various sectors to be rebuilt to be well-positioned for both the economy of today and the economy of the future, while promoting equity for disadvantaged communities.

The focus of the Commission will be both national and statewide and three members of the Commission, Jeh Johnson, a partner at the law firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, LLP and former U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation President Richard Besser, and Chief of Staff George Helmy also will serve on the regional task force empaneled earlier this month that will include representatives from seven northeast states.

This Commission will stay empaneled as long as necessary to inform the restart and recovery of our state’s economy.

Members of the Commission are:

Dr. Shirley M. Tilghman (Co-Chair) - Professor of Molecular Biology & Public Policy and President Emeritus of Princeton University

Kenneth Frazier (Co-Chair) - Chairman and Chief Executive Officer 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 & Chief Executive Officer 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 Chief Executive Officer of Prudential Financial, Inc.

Denise Morrison - Founder of Denise Morrison & Associates, LLC and a Senior Advisor for PSP Partners.  Former President and Chief Executive Officer 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