OpportunityNJ Co-Chairs Michele Siekerka and Tom Bracken are serving as masters of ceremonies at today’s Affordability Summit at First Baptist Church at Lincoln Gardens in Somerset. The aim of the Summit is to identify the priorities and concerns of New Jersey’s business community to help shape a new Affordability Agenda for the next governor.
The event features a keynote address by former New Jersey Secretary of State Rev. DeForest Soaries, as well as presentations from Steve Van Kuiken (Senior Partner at McKinsey & Company and an expert on business operations and competitiveness); Dr. James W. Hughes (University Professor and former Dean of the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University), Tom Byrne (Chairman of the New Jersey State Investment Council and Managing Director of Byrne Asset Management); and Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, the Republican nominee for governor.Democratic gubernatorial nominee Phil Murphy was invited, but was unable to work the Summit into his schedule.
Following the presentations, attendees will participate in breakout sessions for brainstorming discussions centered on tax reform, workforce development and jobs, regulation reform and infrastructure.
“We will hear inspirational speakers and then provide substantive input on how we can change key policies,” said Siekerka, president and CEO of the New Jersey Business & Industry Association. “This is a chance to have a really constructive dialogue to propose an agenda for the next governor, so we can all have a better chance to survive and thrive in the state of New Jersey.”
“The mission is to make New Jersey more affordable,” said Bracken, president and CEO of the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce. “We realize we can’t solve every problem overnight, but this business forum will mark a comprehensive start to making progress on critical issues.”
Many of the organizations involved in the Business Summit formed OpportunityNJ (ONJ), a non-partisan, grassroots coalition dedicated to promoting action to make New Jersey more competitive and affordable for everyone. With no direct ties to political parties or government, ONJ serves as an independent voice to provide data-based education about New Jersey policy actions – and to support policies that encourage job growth, affordability and prosperity in the state.