RICE CALLS FOR MINORITY LEGISLATIVE CAUCUS REPRESENTATION ON COVID-19 ECONOMIC RESPONSE TEAM

Senator Ronald L. Rice issued a statement regarding the efforts underway in Atlantic City to put a hired manager in control of government, saying he supports the current form of government in place and that outside intervention does not prevent mismanagement.

RICE CALLS FOR MINORITY LEGISLATIVE CAUCUS REPRESENTATION

ON COVID-19 ECONOMIC RESPONSE TEAM

INCLUDE BLACK AND LATINO VOICES WITH FULL-THROATED AUTHORITY

TRENTON – Senator Ronald L. Rice today commended the appointment of Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee Chair Paul Sarlo and Senate Republican Budget Officer Steve Oroho to serve as fiscal strategists for New Jersey’s COVID-19 economic recovery, and called for the addition of one senator from both the Latino and Black Legislative Caucuses to join the merged Murphy Administration and Legislative efforts.

In a letter congratulating Senate President Steve Sweeney and recognizing Senators Sarlo and Oroho’s knowledge, expertise and leadership, Rice suggested the selection of “two additional tacticians to lend their specific focus on outcomes for communities of color,” he wrote.  “I respectfully request that you choose one legislator from both the New Jersey Legislative Black Caucus and the New Jersey Legislative Latino Caucus, perhaps with one of them being a woman.  Thirty-four years as a state senator have conditioned me to expect that if Blacks and Latinos aren’t in the dialog from the start, their voices are never added with the full-throated authority they deserve.”

Rice advised that the “inclusion of lawmakers of color who represent the communities most impacted health- and economy-wise, would be a prudent and sage action.  Such foresight would ensure that specific considerations for minorities and the disadvantaged are … intricately woven into the comprehensive tapestry of recovery coordination from the start, rather than stitched on, patchwork style, after the fact.”

His letter pointed out the importance of Black and Latino senators as full partner strategists “to represent Black, Latino and minority residents, workers, students, healthcare consumers, small businesses, investors and companies throughout the state.  They must hear the critical conversations firsthand and have free rein to express the concerns, attitudes and needs of their constituents.  Only then will we be assured that the best interests of communities of color are taken to heart and addressed with appropriate priority.”

Rice urged the minority caucuses input to spark “much needed hope for people who have lost those dearest to them in the most desperate of ways.  It will relieve the despair of those who have now lost their hard-won toehold in the long climb to financial independence and security,” he wrote.  “By embracing the insight and experience of minority legislators, you will invite the kind of inclusive thinking that lays a sound foundation for sustainable prosperity rooted in economic and environmental justice in every community in our state.”

Rice concluded the letter with his own addendum to a well-known African proverb: “If you want to travel fast, go alone.  If you want to travel far, go together. … If you want to travel far and fast, go with those who have the most to lose by staying put,” he said.

NOTE:  Full text of letter attached.

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