This week, New jersey Governor Chris Christie approved appointments to the Center for Hispanic Policy, Research and Development’s (CHPRD) Advisory Committee. Created in 1975, CHPRD and its Advisory Committee work to empower New Jersey’s Hispanic community and serve as a resource for state government on Hispanic affairs. As part of their mandate, CHPRD has aggressively sought to increase public-private investment for community based organizations, administer an annual grant program, and facilitate professional and leadership development for college students through its competitive internship and fellowship program. In addition to the Advisory Committee appointments, the Governor’s Office also announced the selection of Abraham Lopez (Jersey City, Hudson) and Mariella Morales (Elizabeth, Union) as the Center’s Executive Director and Deputy Director, respectively. Mr. Lopez previously served in the Governor’s Office of Intergovernmental Affairs as Director of Hispanic and Faith Based Affairs and Ms. Morales was previously in the Governor’s Office of Appointments as Director of Outreach.
In approving the appointments, Governor Christie noted, “As our state's largest and fastest growing ethnic group, the Hispanic community is critically important to New Jersey’s continued success as a state and I value the work the Center for Hispanic Policy, Research and Development does. For more than three decades, they have helped hundreds of students and thousands of families realize their very own American dream. As we move forward, I’m proud that my Administration is working hard to elevate the role the Center plays in the Garden State and these individuals will help in guiding the future of the Center.”
“Abraham Lopez has been a tireless advocate for New Jersey’s Hispanic community and I am pleased he has agreed to take on this new role in the Administration. I have complete faith in his ability and I know he will ensure the Center is a national model and continues to have a strong, positive impact on the lives of the thousands of New Jerseyans it serves through its work,” said Governor Christie in naming Mr. Lopez as Executive Director.
The new appointees to the Center for Hispanic Policy, Research and Development’s Advisory Committee include Former Whitman Administration Official and retired Professor Roland Alum (West New York, Hudson); New Jersey Latino Leadership Alliance of New Jersey Member Anira Sanchez Clericuzio, Esq. (Cranford, Union); Norris, McLaughlin & Marcus Equity Partner Daniel R. Guadalupe, Esq. (Plainsboro, Middlesex); Statewide Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Founding President and CEO Dr. Daniel H. Jara (Hackensack, Bergen); New Jersey City University Council for Hispanic Affairs Member Kathy G. Monteiro (Westfield, Union). Middlesex County Assistant Prosecutor Mirtha Ospina, Esq. (Hoboken, Hudson); Former Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration Regional Director Soraya Rodriguez-Balzac (Andover, Sussex); Kean University Academic Advisor and Adjunct Professor Elis Sosa (Jersey City, Hudson); and Puerto Rican Congress of New Jersey President and CEO Lydia J. Valencia (Lakewood, Ocean). These two-year direct appointments do not require Senate confirmation and each member will serve without compensation.
As the Center continues with a number of their traditional roles, the new leadership and the Advisory Committee will refocus the Center’s work in the four program areas: Hispanic entrepreneurship, citizenship and integration direct services, workforce development and the continued support of innovative initiatives that provide services throughout the state. At the heart of these programmatic changes are an effort for the State to work more collaboratively in service delivery. The Administration also seeks to provide increased long lasting public value to the Hispanic community. Moreover, CHPRD will continue to enhance the community and social service fields by encouraging high standards, best practices, and collaboration methods among grantees. Hispanic organizations are providing community based social service, workforce training programs, educational services, and healthcare programs throughout the state serving nearly five hundred thousand low-income mostly Hispanic families annually.