Gov. Christopher Christie’s appointment of South Jersey Chamber of Commerce president Debra DiLorenzo to a key commission that will review the state’s sports, gaming and entertainment industries is a not too subtle reminder that New Jersey Chamber of Commerce president Joan Verplanck remains on the outs with the new administration. DiLorenzo was also one of ten people picked to serve on Christie’s transition team. Verplanck is popular with her business community membership, but is viewed by Republican leaders as entirely too close to Democrats. Christie’s decision to skip the chamber’s annual shmoozefest to Washington was another clear shot at the chamber leadership, which supported then-Gov. Jon Corzine’s toll hike plan in 2008, and played a role in the diminished attendance. In the ultimate metaphor, Verplanck missed the train.
Noteworthy on Christie’s commission: it took the new governor just sixteen days to get the Star-Ledger to slam him in an editorial. The newspaper applauded Christie’s decision to closely examine the money-losing New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, but didn’t like his picks of Jon Hanson and Robert Mulchahy for seats on the panel. The Star-Ledger thinks that Hanson, a former NJSEA chairman, and Mulchahy, who was the president, were part of the crew that created the problems in the first place.