Rice and Legislative Black Caucus Men Want Currie to Install Two Women on Reapportionment Commission

Senator Ronald Rice says that he will not vote on a NJ state budget that doesn't include $140 million in cost savings gained through a marijuana decriminalization and expungement law that eliminates unjust judicial and correctional practices targeting poor, minority and urban residents.

In a letter he sent today to Democratic State Party Chairman John Currie and Vice Party Chair Peg Schaffer, state Senator Ronald L. Rice (D-28) said the men of color who are members of the New Jersey Legislative Black Caucus call on party leaders to install at least two women of color to the reapportionement committee.

The full letter by Senator Rice is reprinted below:

Dear Chairman Currie and Vice Chairwoman Schaffer:

As Chair of New Jersey’s Legislative Black Caucus, I’m writing on behalf of the New Jersey Legislative Black Caucus men in support of the widespread recommendation to bring the membership of the Legislative Reapportionment Commission into alignment with the general demographics of our state and our party, and to echo the facts and sentiments already penned by the African-American women members of our Caucus. The men of NJLBC call upon you to install at least two women onto the Commission with at least one being a woman of color.

As legislators throughout the state pour their very being into relieving the suffering and instability caused by the coronavirus pandemic, it is obvious that a good deal of the disparity we see in damage to life and livelihood can be traced to the absence of diversity in leadership. It has never been clearer that the people who make policy must look like the people the policy serves.

More than half of New Jersey residents are female. Pew Research Center statistics on party affiliation among adults in New Jersey show that 56 percent who vote Democratic are women. That’s a majority. Looking at race and ethnic composition between the parties, we see almost half, 49 percent, of those who vote Democrat are people of color, versus only 18 percent in the Republican party.

Beyond mathematics, women’s and minorities’ fortitude, organization and mobilization have served as the backbone of the Democratic Party in New Jersey. Indeed, having persevered through a history of being undervalued and underutilized, they infuse all of society with the wisdom, intelligence, common sense and compassion born of their struggle. Therefore, for these

reasons and many others, I, along with the male bipartisan members of the New Jersey Legislative Black Caucus, lend our names to this letter urging you to broaden the diversity and deepen the well of experience and understanding on the Legislative Reapportionment Commission so that ultimately, our state’s district boundaries foster true democracy based on equality and justice.

Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

Senator Ronald L. Rice

Chair, New Jersey Legislative Black Caucus

Members:

Assemblyman Gordon M. Johnson

37th Legislative District

Assemblyman Benjie E. Wimberly

35th Legislative District

Assemblyman Jamel Curtis Holley

20th Legislative District

Assemblyman Herbert Conaway, M.D.

7th Legislative District

Senator Troy Singleton

7th Legislative District

Assemblyman William W. Spearman

5th Legislative District

Assemblyman Adam Taliaferro

3rd Legislative District

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