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Senate Majority Conference Leader Vin Gopal (D-Long Branch). Photo courtesy o Senate Majority Office.

Gopal supports Juliano for Horizon post

Monmouth senator surprised Michele Brown is still there

By David Wildstein, June 12 2020 3:12 pm

Senate Majority Conference Leader Vin Gopal (D-Long Branch) today lauded the nomination of Paul Juliano to the Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield Board of Directors and said it was time for former Chris Christie aide Michele Brown to go.

Gov. Phil Murphy yesterday nominated Juliano, the Bergen County Democratic Chairman, to the pot on Thursday.

“Juliano is a great guy. I’ve gotten to know him over the years, and he would make a great Horizon board member,” Gopal told the New Jersey Globe in a brief phone interview.

Brown worked for Christie when he was U.S. Attorney and governor, serving as appointments counsel and headed the embattled New Jersey Economic Development Authority.

Christie has been lobbying Democratic leaders to protect Brown’s $76,000-a-year, part-time post.

“I am surprised that Michelle Brown is still there – she was Chris Christie’s right-hand and we are two-and-a-half years into a new administration,” Gopal said.  “She should absolutely be replaced. Chairman Juliano is a great pick.”

Brown now runs Christie’s public policy institute on civility in politics.

Until she was ousted by Murphy, Brown was the $450,000-a-year CEO of Choose New Jersey, a privately-funded group formed by Christie allies to help attract new businesses to the state.

In May 2017, Christie filed a notice of intent to nominate Brown to a Superior Court judgeship, but Brown inexplicably withdrew her name from consideration a few days later when he discovered that Brown had not been a member of the New Jersey Bar long enough to qualify.

As Christie’s appointments counsel, Brown had been responsible for vetting judicial appointments.

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