TRENTON – Today, Governor Phil Murphy will present his 2023 State of the State Address, reaffirming his commitment to making New Jersey the State of Opportunity and the best place in the nation to live, work, and raise a family. This year, several New Jerseyans, including leaders from the Ukrainian community, will join First Lady Tammy Murphy in the Assembly Chamber as her special guests. Each of these individuals, with their aspirations, accomplishments, and resilience, were chosen because they represent values, policies, and themes to be addressed by the Governor in his speech.
“Together, we are working toward a New Jersey where possibility is endless and opportunity is limitless,” said Governor Murphy. “This year’s State of the State Address will not only reflect on our accomplishments, but outline a path forward so New Jersey can continue to lead the nation. The special guests at this year’s State of the State Address are representative of the values that continue to guide my Administration we continue to make our state stronger and fairer for every family.”
“Together with our sons, Charlie and Sam, I am proud to announce the special guests who will accompany us during this year’s State of the State Address,” said First Lady Tammy Murphy. “Their voices, stories and lived experiences inspire the values that keep New Jersey moving forward. It is my honor to be joined by these exceptional individuals who reflect the vision behind this year’s State of the State Address.”
The following individuals, listed in alphabetical order by last name, will be in attendance:
Russell and Janell Aaronson: Russell and Janell Aaronson are residents of Medford, New Jersey. Russell is an executive with a global corporate investigative firm. Janell previously was a clinical nutrition support dietician who worked at the University of Penn. Together, they also own and operate a premier soccer club and soccer training center based out of Medford. They are proud parents of three children. Their two sons are professional soccer players. Their son, Brenden, plays at Leeds United in the English Premier League and plays for the US Men's National Team. Their son, Paxten, plays for Eintracht Frankfurt which is a German Bundesliga team and also plays with the U 20 men's national team. Their daughter, Jaden, is a sophomore in high school who also plays for her high school team as well as an elite South Jersey soccer club team. Janell grew up in Medford and Russell grew up in the Jersey shore area. They enjoy spending time with their family at the Jersey shore during the summer.
Darrin Chandler, Jr.: Darrin Chandler Jr. is co-founder and president of Premium Genetics, a family-owned and operated cannabis company based in New Jersey. As a business, real estate and cannabis industry expert, Chandler works with several state universities and minority organizations on cannabis curriculum, and educational and social justice programs. Most recently, Chandler joined RIPCO Real Estate as the Director of Cannabis Real Estate focusing on cannabis operator representation utilizing his skill set as an 11-year licensed New Jersey real estate agent. A former New Jersey Collegiate Division 1 Student-Athlete, Chandler holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Marketing and Management from Montclair State University and is an active member of the New Jersey African American Chamber of Commerce. A lifelong resident of New Jersey, Chandler was raised in Hackensack and is currently raising his family in Teaneck.
Josymara Espindola Conte: Josymara Espindola Conte, originally from Brazil, immigrated to the United States in 2000 and has been residing in New Jersey for the last 18 years. Espindola Conte, who considers herself a true ‘Jersey Girl’, describes the state of New Jersey as home and where she has accomplished most of her life goals, including home ownership in Robbinsville, NJ. Espindola Conte is one of over 870,000 homeowners and 900,000 renters who are eligible for Governor Murphy’s ANCHOR program, which was introduced last year.
Abbie Galie: Abbie Galie is a dedicated mother of four children and resident of Medford, NJ, which she has called home for the past 23 years. She is one of the founders of Medford’s first brewery, Lower Forge, an environmentally conscious brewery that sources 100% of its base malts from New Jersey farms and has zero spent grain heading to landfills. She is also the designer of all of Lower Forge’s branding and marketing. Her love for keeping things local has her wearing many hats from being the principal cellist for the South Jersey Pops Orchestra, the founder of the local tourism media Destination Medford, the Vice President and Co-Founder of Medford’s Main Street Merchants business association, board member of DowntownNJ & Medford Business Association, and the former Chairwoman of Medford’s Economic Development Committee.
Quovella (Spruill) Maeweather: Quovella (Spruill) Maeweather is the Director of Public Safety for Franklin Township Somerset, New Jersey, retired Essex County Prosecutor’s Office Chief of Detectives, Executive Vice President for National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE) NJ Chapter, Financial Secretary for NOBLE National and Adjunct Faculty for Rutgers Newark School of Criminal Justice and Monmouth University. Her passion is inspired through history and life experiences, which demonstrate that law enforcement and the community must work together to ensure safer communities and educate our youth.
Ehren Ryan: Ehren Ryan is the owner and chef at Common Lot, one of New Jersey’s most awarded restaurants located in Millburn. Ryan hails from Australia and has trained and worked in some of the world’s top 2 and 3 Michelin starred restaurants in Australia, the UK and Europe before moving to New Jersey to settle and open his first restaurant. This international experience has greatly influenced his sense of culinary adventure and style, which he now brings to his first restaurant, Common Lot. Ryan lives in Harding Township with his wife, Nadine, and 2 young children, Oskar and Matilda.
Stuart and Cindy Turner: Stuart and Cindy Turner are longtime residents of Park Ridge, where they raised their three children, Kelly, Michelle and Matt. Married for 31 years, Cindy and Stuart have always been individuals who have been very active in the community. As former athletes, and parents of varsity and collegiate athletes, they have volunteered their time to coach numerous teams for the local high school - understanding that sport is a vital part of growth and development for individuals. When not working in the local school system, Cindy is a president of a local book club, and plays pickleball and competitive softball. Stuart has retired after 35 years in the corporate world and now enjoys consulting and refereeing varsity high school volleyball. Together they enjoy spending time with their grandchildren and traveling to London to watch their son, Matt Turner, play soccer for Arsenal FC and the US Men's National Team.
Shakira Williams-Linzey: Shakira Williams-Linzey is the Director of Maternal Infant Health in the NY/NJ market for March of Dimes (marchofdimes.org), the leader in the fight for all moms and babies. For over two decades, Williams-Linzey has been committed to improving maternal and infant/ child health outcomes, with a special focus on reducing racial, ethnic and economic disparities. She is on the Leadership Council of New Jersey Statewide Network of Cultural Competency, a member of the NJ Association of Infant Mental Health, Central New Jersey Maternal Experience Survey Advisory Board, a member of the New Brunswick Area of the NAACP, Mocha Moms Inc. of Middlesex County, and an active member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Williams-Linzey is a graduate of William Paterson University where she received her B.S. and Temple University where she earned her M.S. in Public Health. She resides in NJ with her husband and three children.
Additionally, several members of the Ukrainian American community will also attend, including His Eminence Archbishop Daniel Zelinsky of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA; Metropolitan Antony of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church; and Ukrainian Counsel General Oleksii Golubov.
Four Ukrainian servicemen who were severely injured while performing a combat mission countering Russia’s aggression against Ukraine will also be in attendance. Those soldiers include six-time track and field champion and First Lieutenant, Artillery, Mykola Zarytskyi; Sergeant Viktor Kobets’, Ground Forces; Senior Mariner Maksym Kryvonos, Marines; and servicemember Roman Los’, Infantry. These servicemen are staying in the US for prosthetic treatment and rehabilitation on invitation by the nonprofit organization “Kind Deeds”, whose president, Oleksandr Rubstov, will also attend the State of the State Address.