The following was sent to media outlets and business organizations around the state.
I am certainly biased, but Gov. Phil Murphy and New Jersey are leading the way on the effort to preserved the manufacturing industry in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. The governor’s Executive Order 104 exempts all manufacturing firms from closure. That step is critical if the state is to maintain the work done by firms to help us heal and recover.
What is concerning many of our essential firms are the actions being taken by other states, like New York and Pennsylvania, as they ask Murphy to conform with their decrees that create a hierarchy of manufacturers. That just does not work to anyone’s advantage.
It is obvious that everyone means well and this is certainly unplowed ground for us all. But we need to be aware of the overall value of manufacturers – especially during times of crisis like this one.
I have no idea of how to be a good governor, but I certainly understand the role that this industry plays in regard to this effort.
The major reason why keeping all manufacturing firms open is that we all work together to create the supply chain. That is critical.
Paper and packaging firms support bio-pharma, food, and personal protection equipment makers. Nothing can be shipped or labeled without them.
Chemicals are integral components of medications and pharmaceuticals.
Textiles and clothing makers supply much-needed safety products.
Metalworks, stamping and forging businesses are key to a variety of industries that keep us clean and free from waste.
Food, beverage an ingredients providers sustain us all.
Now, this list doesn’t even touch on the defense contractors that t keep our warfighters equipped those that in transportation or logistics that keep everything moving.
Leaders in these sectors are aware of the dangers and have instituted safeguards to provide distance and cleanliness. Of course, they also want to keep their staffs and families safe.
They will continue to take appropriate steps if the situation changes and they are respecting individual workers who have decided to stay at home. They also know and understand the risks, but realize that manufacturers, R&D facilities, labs, and transportation and logistics companies are the keys to sustaining us now and in recovery.
Those at NJMEP and the 11,000+ New Jersey-based manufacturers applaud the support and insight provided by Gov. Murphy and his team. They are leading from the front.
We also appreciate Legislative Manufacturing Caucus, led by Senators Linda Greenstein and Steve Oroho, who have been pushing a positive agenda from the start. They already have been working with other lawmakers on a variety of supportive measures for this industry, and those efforts are even more important now.
Let’s stay the course in the Garden State and keep essential companies working. New Jersey cannot follow other states down a path that will lead to a continuation of this pandemic and cost lives.
John W. Kennedy, Ph.D.
Chief Executive Officer
New Jersey Manufacturing Extension Program, Inc.