On Juneteenth, Governor Murphy Announces Leadership of Wealth Disparity Task Force

Lieutenant Governor Oliver.

On Juneteenth, Governor Murphy Announces Leadership of Wealth Disparity Task Force

06/18/2021
Lieutenant Governor Oliver, Department of Banking and Insurance Commissioner Marlene Caride, Rutgers University President Dr. Jonathan Holloway, and Council of New Jersey Grantmakers President and CEO Maria Vizcarrondo to Lead Task Force

PATERSON – Governor Phil Murphy announced that Lieutenant Governor Sheila Oliver, Department of Banking and Insurance Commissioner Marlene Caride, Rutgers University President Dr. Jonathan Holloway, and Council of New Jersey Grantmakers President and CEO Maria Vizcarrondo will lead the Governor’s Wealth Disparity Task Force. They will be joined by additional government officials, academic researchers, and faith and community leaders to be announced at a later date.

“In my State of the State Address in 2020, a month before the pandemic swept over our state, I announced my intention to form a task force focused specifically on the issue of our state’s gaping racial wealth disparity,” said Governor Murphy. “Lieutenant Governor Oliver, Commissioner Caride, Dr. Holloway, and Maria Vizcarrondo are the right choices to lead the Wealth Disparity Task Force. As esteemed and experienced leaders in government and education, they are well qualified to tackle this issue and advocate for the inclusion of all in prosperous future of our state.”

“The gaps in aggregate intergenerational wealth that exist in our communities across New Jersey is a fundamental issue that divides us in many ways – from access to education, housing, and credit to wages and employment opportunities,” said Lt. Governor Sheila Oliver, who serves as Commissioner of the Department of Community Affairs. “I want to thank Governor Murphy for following through on his commitment to tackle this issue by creating the Wealth Disparity Taskforce. I look forward to joining my colleagues Commissioner Caride and President Holloway, and Maria Vizcarrondo to examine ways that our state can help address systemic problems head-on to help close these wealth gaps in our state.”

“I am honored to serve on the Governor’s Wealth Disparity Task Force as we work to address the underlying causes and the effects of the wealth disparity gap in New Jersey,” said Department of Banking and Insurance Commissioner Caride. “Diversity is our state’s great strength, and we are committed to making sure that residents of all communities within our state are a part of ensuring that New Jersey rises to its full potential.”

“I am flattered to have been asked to co-chair this critical task force,” said Rutgers University President Dr. Jonathan Holloway. “I am encouraged by the challenge to take a broad multi-disciplinary approach to the complicated causes of the racial wealth gap and excited by the Governor’s charge to suggest meaningful and realistic remedies and solutions to close that gap.”

“Thank you to Governor Murphy for appointing me as one of the leaders of the Wealth Disparity Task Force,” said Council of New Jersey Grantmakers President and CEO Maria Vizcarrondo. “I look forward to working with Lieutenant Governor Oliver, Commissioner Caride, and Dr. Holloway, and the other members of the task force. Promoting equity and battling wealth disparity is of the utmost importance, and we will immediately get to work on strategies to battle the racial wealth gap in our state.”

The Wealth Disparity Task Force will advise the Murphy Administration on strategies aimed at addressing the various causes and effects of wealth disparity in New Jersey. The task force will prioritize efforts towards 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. By working to achieve inclusion of groups and individuals who have previously been marginalized, the task force will create comprehensive strategies and solutions to achieve a fairer distribution of wealth in New Jersey.

Bios:

Lieutenant Governor Sheila Oliver

Sheila Oliver has served as Lieutenant Governor of the State of New Jersey since January 16th, 2018.

Lieutenant Governor Oliver was inspired as a young girl to be a fighter for the voiceless when her eyes were opened to societal injustices and inequities around her, often citing “A Tale of Two Cities” as her youth awakening. She has since pioneered a successful career in public service advocating for social justice, women’s equality, and education, ultimately becoming the first woman of color to serve in a statewide elected office in New Jersey history.

In addition to her role as Lieutenant Governor, she serves as Commissioner of the Department of Community Affairs, where she has led efforts to strengthen and expand initiatives for fair and affordable housing, community revitalization, homelessness prevention, and local government services that support New Jersey’s 565 municipalities.

A trailblazer in every sense of the word, in 2010 she became the first African-American woman in state history to serve as Assembly Speaker, and just the second in the nation’s history to lead a state legislative house.

A proud alumna of the Newark public school system, Lieutenant Governor Oliver graduated cum laude from Lincoln University, and received her Master of Science Degree in Community Organization, Planning and Administration from Columbia University. She has received honorary doctorates of humane letters from the New Jersey Institute of Technology, Lincoln University, Montclair University and Berkeley and Essex County Colleges.

Department of Banking and Insurance Commissioner Marlene Caride

Marlene Caride was named to lead the New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance by Governor Phil Murphy and began serving on January 16, 2018. Commissioner Caride is the first Hispanic to head the Department where she oversees New Jersey’s insurance, banking and real estate industries. The Commissioner also oversees the operation of the state’s health insurance exchange, Get Covered New Jersey, a division within the department.

Prior to joining the Department, Caride was a member of the New Jersey General Assembly representing the 36th Legislative District. During her three terms in the Assembly, Caride served on the Assembly Financial Institutions and Insurance Committee, the Assembly Appropriations Committee and the New Jersey Legislative Select Committee on Investigation. She also chaired the Assembly Education Committee and was vice-chair of the Assembly Transportation and Independent Authorities Committee.

Caride was a partner in the Union City law firm of Gonzalez & Caride. She is a member of the Bar of the Supreme Court of the United States, the New Jersey State Bar Association, and the Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey.

Caride is a graduate of California Western School of Law and Fairleigh Dickinson University with a Bachelor of Arts in Education. She resides in Ridgefield, New Jersey.

Rutgers University President Dr. Jonathan Holloway

Jonathan Holloway, a U.S. historian, took office as the 21st president of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, on July 1, 2020. He also serves as a University Professor and Distinguished Professor.

Prior to accepting the presidency of Rutgers, Dr. Holloway was provost of Northwestern University from 2017 to 2020 and a member of the faculty of Yale University from 1999 to 2017.  At Yale, he served as Dean of Yale College and the Edmund S. Morgan Professor of African American Studies, History, and American Studies.

Dr. Holloway, who began his academic career at the University of California, San Diego, received a bachelor’s degree with honors in American studies from Stanford University and a Ph.D. in history from Yale University.

Council of New Jersey Grantmakers CEO Maria Vizcarrondo

Maria Vizcarrondo, named as the Council’s president and CEO in March 2019, has more than 25 years of experience transforming service organizations and has served her communities as both an appointed and elected official. Vizcarrondo, who spent most of her career in northern New Jersey, came to the Council from Cabrini University in Philadelphia, where she most recently was Director of Community Development and External Relations. She was inaugural Executive Director of the school’s Nerney Leadership Institute, launched in 2013.

In 2006, when he was first elected Mayor of Newark, Cory Booker tapped Vizcarrondo to head Newark’s Health and Human Service Department. Prior to her mayoral appointment, Vizcarrondo served as the first woman president and CEO of United Way of Essex and West Hudson. Vizcarrondo was elected Essex County Surrogate in 1993 and served four years of a five-year term before leaving to join United Way. A New York City native, Vizcarrondo was raised in Newark. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Kean University and a master’s degree in public policy and administration at Columbia University.

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