TRENTON – Gov. Chris Christie has approved appointments to the Center for Hispanic Policy, Research and Development’s (CHPRD) Advisory Committee and named an executive director and deputy director to the Center.
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 a release, Christie said, “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.
In the release, the governor’s office stated it wants the Center to refocus on four areas: Hispanic entrepreneurship, citizenship and integration of direct services, workforce development, and support initiatives that provide services statewide.