Governors select appointees for multi-state effort to reopen economy

State leaders, healthcare professionals, and executives will make up a multi-state council to restore the economy and safely reopen businesses.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy announced last week that his state will work cooperatively with fellow Democratic Govs. Ned Lamont of Connecticut, John Carney of Delaware, Andrew Cuomo of New York, Tom Wolf of Pennsylvania and Gina Raimondo of Rhode Island.

On Sunday, governors announced appointees who will lead the collaborative effort to safely return to normalcy in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.


- Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine, Department of Health

- Secretary Dennis Davin, Department of Community and Economic Development

- Michael Brunelle, COS, Office of the Governor

New Jersey

- George Helmy, Chief of Staff to the Governor

- Dr. Richard Besser, President and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and former Acting Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

- Jeh Johnson, Former United States Secretary of Homeland Security under President Barack Obama


- Sheila Grant, Chief of Staff, Office of Governor John Carney

- Dr. Kara Odom Walker, Secretary, Delaware Department of Health and Social Services

- Kurt Foreman, President and CEO, Delaware Prosperity Partnership


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New York

- Melissa DeRosa, Secretary to the Governor

- Robert Mujica, Director of NYS Division of the Budget

- Michael Dowling, President and CEO, Northwell Health  


- Indra Nooyi, Co-chair of the nonprofit organization AdvanceCT and former chairman and CEO of PepsiCo

- Dr. Albert Ko, Professor of Epidemiology and Medicine and department chair at the Yale School of Public Health

- Paul Mounds, Jr., Chief of Staff in the Office of the Governor

Rhode Island

- Nicole Alexander-Scott, MD, MPH, Director of the Rhode Island Department of Health

- Stefan Pryor, Rhode Island Commerce Secretary

- David Ortiz, Chief of Staff to the Governor


Kristen Lepore, Chief of Staff

Michael Kennealy, Secretary of the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development

Lauren Peters, Undersecretary at the Executive Office of Health and Human Services

"While my administration continues to take critical steps to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, I also recognize that we must look ahead and take a measured, careful approach to prepare for the future while ensuring that we don't undo all of our efforts," Gov. Wolf said.

Close to home, Pennsylvania currently has over 32,000 cases of COVID-19 and recently eclipsed the 1,100 death mark. Philadelphia, like other major cities, has been a hot bed for the virus, with over 9,200 cases and 365 deaths. 

Wolf on Friday announced the framework of a plan that includes a "regional, sector-based approach" and a modeling tool to help public officials decide when it's safe to begin gradually reopening.

Meanwhile, New Jersey is has dealt with some of the highest case numbers and death totals in the United States.

Gov. Phil Murphy announced Saturday another 231 deaths among those who have tested positive for the coronavirus, bringing the statewide total to 4,070. Another 3,026 cases were announced, bringing the statewide total to 81,420, he said.

“We are flattening the curve,” Murphy said, presenting charts showing the rate of growth of new cases over the previous 21 days as well as daily rates of new hospitalizations since the beginning of the month.


While Delaware's numbers pale in comparison to its much more populated sister-states, new cases Saturday tipped the statewide total above 2,500. Deaths and hospitalizations also showed a slight increase.

President Donald Trump gave governors a road map to recovering from the economic pain of the coronavirus pandemic, laying out “a phased and deliberate approach” to restoring normal activity in places that have strong testing and are seeing a decrease in COVID-19 cases.

“You’re going to call your own shots,” Trump told the governors, according to an audio recording obtained by The Associated Press. “We’re going to be standing alongside of you.”

Associated Press contributed to this report


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