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State Sen. Ronald Rice. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for New Jersey Globe)

Rice urges Currie to add more women to redistricting commission

Senator wants at least two women on Democrats’ half of board

By Nikita Biryukov, May 18 2020 10:19 am

State Sen. Ronald Rice (D-Newark) urged Democratic State Chairman John Currie to appoint at least two women — and at least one woman of color — to Democrats’ half of the Legislative Redistricting Commission.

“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,” Rice said in the letter, which was also addressed to Democratic State Vice Chair Peg Schaffer. “It has never been clearer that the people who make policy must look like the people the policy serves.”

Eight other men belonging to the Legislative Black Caucus, which Rice chairs, signed onto the senator’s call.

Those eight include Assemblymen Gordon Johnson (D-Englewood), Benjie Wimberly (D-Paterson),  Jamel Holley (D-Roselle), Herb Conaway (D-Delarna),  Bill Spearman (D-Camden), Adam Taliaferro (D-Woolwich) and Antwan McClellan (R-Ocean City).

In the Senate, Rice and State Sen. Troy Singleton (D-Delran) have signed on.

“Beyond mathematics, women’s and minorities’ fortitude, organization and mobilization have served as the backbone of the Democratic Party in New Jersey,” Rice said in his letter to the Democratic leaders. “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.”

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