TRENTON – New Jersey Legislative Black Caucus Chairman Ronald L. Rice, D-Essex today released the following statement regarding a letter he recently sent to Senate President Richard J. Codey, D-Essex and Senate Speaker Joseph J. Roberts, D-Camden in reference to the task force created to consider the University merger:
“Today I respectfully submitted a request to both Senate President Codey and Assembly Speaker Roberts, that a member of the New Jersey Legislative Black Caucus, from each house of the Legislature, be named to the Legislative task force assigned to consider the University merger.
“During the end of the McGreevey administration, our members made it clear that we wish to participate and be equal partners on issues that significantly impact the State’s minority population.
“This merger could affect the segment of the State’s population who have so little and often cannot afford health care, the majority of which are minorities and women.
“To exclude members of the Legislative Black Caucus is contrary to the relationship that our Caucus established during the terms of Governors McGreevey and Codey. I would like to think that this omission is an oversight in terms of inclusion.
“Our Caucus is as concerned with fiscal accountability and integrity as any other members of this Legislature. Like Senator Codey, we are also interested in ways to better maximize our resources to attract the best and brightest students to the Garden State. We are just as concerned with the commitment to the delivery of healthcare services to the urban community.
“We have been through this merger battle before, and what I am seeing is not necessarily an issue of merging institutions as much as it could be one of collaboration with other entities. A perfect example of collaboration which proved to be effective was with the Chen organization in Newark.
“As a Caucus, we hope that this issue and our request will be taken very seriously.”