With support from GOP gubernatorial candidate Jack Ciattarelli, New Jersey Senate Republicans today refuted claims by Commissioner of Health Judy Persichilli that the state has been transparent about the response to the coronavirus pandemic.
“Commissioner Persichilli cannot claim to have been transparent when her department has systematically denied public records requests and she has refused invitations to testify before legislators and the public,” said Senate Republican Budget Officer Steve Oroho (R-Franklin).
Republicans criticized Persichilli for declining an invitation to appear before a GOP panel that was probing nursing home deaths related to COVID-19.
“‘The woman who needs no introduction’ actually had the gall to tell us she was too busy to appear at the oversight hearing we invited her to attend, despite the hundreds of hours she spent sitting on stage at Governor Murphy’s press conferences over the past year,” said State Sen. Michael Testa, Jr. (R-Vineland). “If she truly wants to be transparent, the commissioner should offer to return for a full legislative oversight hearing to review her pandemic response efforts.”
Ciattarelli has made Covid-related deaths at nursing homes, long-term care facilities and state-run veterans homes an issue in his bid to unseat Gov. Phil Murphy.
“A lack of transparency, a lack of accountability, and no investigation into 8,000 deaths in nursing homes and long-term care facilities — that is all the people of New Jersey have received from the Murphy Administration after this disastrous negligence,” Ciattarelli said.
Ciattarelli applauded Republicans for stepping up and holding the Murphy administration accountable.
“This pattern of failure is not only deeply concerning, it is dangerous,” he said. “We deserve nothing short of a full and complete investigation into the nursing home deaths.”