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No. 10: George Norcross

Health Care Power 50

Few can get far in New Jersey politics without coming across the name Norcross. The longtime Camden resident and political powerbroker is often considered the most powerful unelected official in the state. He is also chairman of the board of trustees of Cooper Health System, Cooper University Hospital and MD Anderson Cancer Center at Cooper. With more than 7,300 employees, the health care system is the largest employer in Camden.

George Norcross III in Committee room 4 before testifying to the Senate Select Committee on Economic Growth Strategies in Trenton, on Nov. 18, 2019.

Cooper also operates a major health center in Voorhees and dozens of other facilities across South Jersey and parts of Pennsylvania. In addition, the system also boasts the Cooper Medical School of Rowan University, and does work with the Coriell Institute for Medical Research.

Norcross had a hand in the New Jersey Medical and Health Sciences Restructuring Act, signed into law in 2012 to enable one of the nation’s largest academic mergers. That bill was backed by then-Gov. Chris Christie and Senate President Stephen Sweeney, D-3rd District, both Norcross allies.

The act resulted in the dissolution of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, moving some of the schools to Rutgers and others to Rowan, in a move that Norcross said could boost the Camden economy. A much more aggressive plan to merge Rowan and Rutgers-Camden was abandoned amid growing resistance.

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