Published on Sep 23, 2022 in General

On September 22, New Jersey Policy Perspective (NJPP) celebrated 25 years of policy research and policy wins.

At the think tank’s 25th Anniversary Gala at The Heldrich Hotel in New Brunswick, NJPP honored influential policy leaders whose contributions helped advance justice for everyone in the Garden State: Hetty Rosenstein, former New Jersey State Director of the Communications Workers of America (CWA); Michellene Davis, former State Treasurer and current President and CEO of the National Medical Fellowships; and former New Jersey Governor James J. Florio.

Founded by Jon Shure in 1997, NJPP is a nonpartisan think tank that drives policy change to advance economic, social, and racial justice through evidence-based, independent research, analysis, and strategic communications. For the past quarter of a century, NJPP has been at the forefront of efforts to secure a thriving future for everyone in New Jersey — from a $15 minimum wage, to paid sick leave, to a fairer tax code, and beyond.

“It’s my privilege to honor three policy leaders who significantly helped NJPP – and the state of New Jersey – throughout the last quarter century,” said Nicole Rodriguez, President of NJPP. “Governor Florio, Michellene Davis, and Hetty Rosenstein are fierce champions for working families, and their contributions through public service have helped millions of residents in every corner of the state.”

Hetty Rosenstein is widely regarded as one of the most influential labor leaders in New Jersey and has extensive experience in direct organizing for workers’ rights, economic justice, and social equality. She most recently served as State Director for New Jersey for the Communications Workers of America (CWA). Rosenstein was a key partner in many of NJPP’s policy wins including $15 minimum wage, paid sick leave, and the millionaires’ tax.

“Whenever workers’ rights were on the line in Trenton, NJPP was there with hard numbers to show that when workers win, we all win,” said Hetty Rosenstein, former New Jersey State Director of the Communications Workers of America. “From the Fight for $15 to the push for paid sick days, NJPP has a long history of putting workers and their families at the center of the state’s most pressing policy debates. It’s an honor to be recognized by NJPP and to be a part of their 25th anniversary celebration.”

Michellene Davis, former Treasurer of the State of New Jersey, assumed the role of President and Chief Executive Officer of National Medical Fellowships, Inc., (NMF) in May of 2021. Davis most recently served as Executive Vice President and Chief Corporate Affairs Officer at RWJBarnabas Health, the largest academic medical center system in New Jersey and one of the largest in the nation. Davis’ tenure as a leader in New Jersey’s health care industry continues to make an impact in New Jersey by making health care affordable and accessible for all New Jersey residents.

“Policy works best when it’s developed by and for the people, and this ethos is at the heart of NJPP’s research and advocacy,” said Michellene Davis, President and CEO of National Medical Fellowships. “I’m thrilled to be honored by NJPP on their 25th anniversary and welcome their partnership with National Medical Fellowships as we work to advance health justice.”

The Hon. James J. Florio has been active in public life for more than 50 years, including 25 years in elected office. Governor Florio currently serves on the board of directors of the New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute and as co-chair of the Regional Plan Association’s New Jersey Committee. He is a founding partner of Florio Perrucci Steinhardt & Cappelli LLC, and serves as chair of the firm’s environmental law and government and regulatory affairs law groups.

“Tonight we are thrilled to celebrate NJPP’s past achievements and recognize its future potential,” said Marcia Marley, Chair of the NJPP Board of Trustees and President of BlueWaveNJ. ”And we know that none of this would have been possible without the tireless work and support from tonight’s honorees. Thank you Governor Florio, Michellene, and Hetty for everything you have done for this organization and the people of New Jersey.”

New Jersey Policy Perspective will continue its 25th anniversary celebration on Friday, September 23 at their annual policy conference, Progress 2022: Justice for All, featuring keynote speaker Taifa Smith Buter, President of Demos, and Governor Phil Murphy.

Check out more photos from the evening below.

Photos by Frank Wojciechowski.