Last week, Chairman LeRoy Jones announced the appointment of Laura Matos to the Legislative Appointment Commission, the body responsible for drawing new state legislative district maps for the next ten years. This pick brings much-needed diversity to the Commission, ensuring that it represents the fast growing Latino community as well as bringing greater gender balance to the process.
Here’s what some of our state’s leaders are saying about the appointment:
NJDSC Chairman LeRoy Jones
“This decision comes as the result of careful consideration, with much deliberation, and in concert with a number of party leaders across the State. As Chair of the Democratic State Committee, it is my responsibility and duty to select standard bearers who will best represent the Democratic Party’s interests on the Commission and ensure a strong and representative party moving forward. No person or organization’s goals and ambitions are above the interests of our party and the people of this State.
It is in that spirit and in reflection on input that the Apportionment Commission has received, that I have exercised my authority to make this change to the Democratic Delegation. This decision was necessary to protect the future of the Democratic Party, and the integrity of the Commission as a whole.
In appointing Laura Matos today, we are also taking a long overdue step to bring broader, more diverse voices and perspectives to the work that we have on the Apportionment Commission. In New Jersey, our diversity is our strength, and we must continue to build a party that reflects our great state.
I look forward to working with Laura and the rest of the Commission to arrive at a legislative map that works for the people of New Jersey, recognizes regional concerns, and ensures that all of our communities get the representation they deserve.”
“Chairman Jones has always been a person of conviction and someone willing to stand for the greater good. His appointment today of Laura Matos puts the Legislative Apportionment Commission back on track to achieve a fair and fully representative map for all the people of New Jersey. This appointment also ensures that Latino voices are heard. The newly released U.S. Census data shows that Latinos comprise almost 21% of New Jersey’s population but, up until this morning, the Latinx community had zero representation on the Commission that will help influence the next ten years, at least, in neighborhoods around the state.
I also want to congratulate Laura Matos on her appointment. She is a strong advocate and will be a great addition to the Apportionment Commission.”
“Congratulations to Laura Matos – today is an important day for our Latino community here in NJ! Laura will represent us on the State Legislative Redistricting Commission (Apportionment Commission). As a County Chair and as the Chair of the Latino Caucus, I cannot overstate the importance of this Commission and the role it will play on so many levels. Unfortunately, we did not have Latino representation before but so glad we do now! Chairman Leroy Jones and Governor Murphy – thank you. We appreciate the support!
State Senator Nellie Pou
“Members of the Latino Caucus have long called for a Latina to be appointed to the redistricting commission, and have championed the need for greater diversity on the commission overall so that it better reflects the diversity of our state.
“We applaud the selection of Laura Matos, and know that she will serve in her new role with distinction and commitment to the ideals of our state and with fairness to this important process.”
“I fully support the appointment of Laura Matos as a member of the New Jersey Apportionment Commission. Commissioner Matos has an extensive background that will add much value to her new role and adds much needed diversity to the Commission. She has continuously been an advocate for issues that impact cities like Newark and has worked to improve the lives of the people that need it the most. The Apportionment Commission is responsible for redrawing the lines of New Jersey’s 40 legislative districts, from which 40 Senators and 80 members of the General Assembly are elected, and are vital roles for the future of our entire state. As Newark is the state’s largest city, I can confidently say that this was the right move at the right time when there is so much at stake for communities across New Jersey. We all must work together to ensure that our future is one of promise. I have the utmost confidence in the Commissioner’s ability to create a fairer, more representative map and an even stronger state for us all and I wish her much success in her role.”
“We strongly support Chairman Jones’ decision to replace Steve Sweeney on the Legislative Apportionment Commission with Laura Matos. This decision brings desperately needed diversity to the Commission by ensuring that one of New Jersey’s fastest growing demographic groups is represented in a body that is responsible for ensuring our state’s legislative districts accurately reflect the most diverse state in the nation.”
“We thank New Jersey Democratic Party Chairman LeRoy Jones for appointing a Latina to the New Jersey Apportionment Commission. Laura Matos is a prominent member of our community and has a long, successful track record in state politics and public affairs. Latinos represent more than 20 percent of the New Jersey population, and from the beginning of this process we have called on the Commission to properly represent our state’s diversity.
While this appointment is a good first step toward representation, it is critical that in the coming weeks the Commission work closely with advocates to develop a set of state legislative maps that properly represent our state and our community and build on the gains we made during the last legislative reapportionment process. Our state is the most diverse in the nation, and our Legislature must reflect that fact.”
“On behalf of the board members of Latina Civic, we wish to commend New Jersey State Democratic Chairman LeRoy Jones on his appointment of Laura Matos to the New Jersey Legislative Apportionment Commission.
Laura’s advocacy for issues that impact women and her relentless pursuit of equal representation and inclusion for the Latino community are what make today’s actions so important. With her appointment, Latinos will now have a voice on the New Jersey Legislative Apportionment Commission on decisions that will impact our community for the next ten years.
In a state that boasts a Latino population that comprises 21% of the state’s total, the lack of Latino representation on this commission has always been a problem. It takes leadership and courage to take bold action, and today Chairman Jones’ proved his commitment to ensure Latino representation in the important process of creating a fairer and more inclusive New Jersey.”
“The appointment of Ms. Matos heeds our earlier calls (in May 2020 and October 2021) to increase gender parity and minority representation on the commission. She will be an invaluable and extremely qualified addition to the Democratic delegation.”
“Congratulations to Laura Matos on her appointment to the New Jersey Apportionment Commission. Ms. Matos has long served the great State of New Jersey with dignity and expertise, and I am certain that she will bring a necessary component to the Commission. Thank you to Democratic Chairman LeRoy J. Jones, Jr. for making this important and timely appointment. As Mayor of the City of Paterson – the state’s most diverse municipality with a significant Latino population, I appreciate the diversity represented on the Commission and I look forward to how Commissioner Matos will inform future apportionment decisions to best represent the state.”
Melissa Morales, President of Somos Votantes PAC
“The actions taken by New Jersey Democratic Chairman Leroy Jones yesterday were as bold as they were significant. It took real leadership to not only identify the problem, but also provide a solution in providing true representation in the Democratic Delegation for the New Jersey Legislative Apportionment Commission. Almost 21% of New Jersey’s population is Latino so the addition of Laura Matos into this important process is not just timely, it is overdue. He provided true fairness and balance for Latino communities throughout New Jersey, something not all states have done throughout their legislative redistricting process. The final map decided by Judge Carchman at the end of this process will impact every community in New Jersey and we cannot allow any political parlor games to distract from that important work. This is about New Jersey’s future, and there should be nothing, or no one person, more important than that.”
“On behalf of the Latino Caucus, we congratulate and celebrate the appointment of longtime civil servant and Burlington County native, Laura Matos, to the Commission. As the nation’s largest minority voting group, the Latino vote has been proven effective in winning elections in battleground districts. Latinos in New Jersey also comprise 21% of the state’s total, growing significantly as reported in the latest Census data.
We commend Chairman Jones for his commitment to establish a pathway that is inclusive and fair for every New Jersey resident. With today’s appointment, Latinos will now have representation in a discussion that started months ago. And now our voice will be represented to help shape the state for the next ten years.
The Latino Caucus will continue to advocate and support Latino candidates across all levels of government. We will continue to engage and mobilize Latinos and work with our counter caucuses so New Jersey can act as a model state for equal and more accurate representation.
As shown today, Chairman Jones has taken the necessary steps to bring more diverse voices to this Commission, creating a stronger and fairer New Jersey. We look forward to seeing the impact Laura and the rest of the members will have in drawing a state legislative map that is fair and representative of all New Jersey residents.”
Assemblywoman Yvonne Lopez
“The Apportionment Commission will have a long-lasting impact on all communities, specifically the ever-burgeoning Latino population that is now almost 21% of New Jersey’s total population. Laura Matos’ work on the NJ Complete Count Commission and collaboration throughout the state amid a pandemic resulted in many underrepresented communities finally being counted. Her voice and experience will be invaluable throughout this process.”