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

Rice wants black, Latino lawmakers on economic recovery panel

By Nikita Biryukov, April 21 2020 11:54 am

State Sen. Ronald Rice called on Senate President Steve Sweeney to add a black and Latino legislators to the team of Senators working with Gov. Phil Murphy’s administration on New Jersey’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 crisis.

“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 said.

Senate Budget Committee Chairman Paul Sarlo and Senate Republican Budget Officer Steven Oroho have already been appointed to the board.

Because of disparities in healthcare access and other systemic problems, black residents are overrepresented in the virus’s death toll.

“inclusion of lawmakers of color who represent the communities most impacted health- and economy-wise, would be a prudent and sage action,” Rice said. “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.”

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