John Harmon, president and CEO of the African American Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey pays tribute to late NJ senator Ronald Rice.

To my brother, mentor, and confidant, I am going to miss you.

Moreover, at a time wherein the 1.2 million blacks in New Jersey are seeking parity in a host of areas that appears to have fallen on deaf ears. Notwithstanding the equity derived from the black vote that has enabled several elected officials to be victorious while black people, black business owners and black communities, received marginal return.

Senator Rice was the voice that we could count on to state our case with vigor, conviction, and a demand for reciprocity. The challenges confronting black people and black business owners will not be resolved in silence, we owe it to Senator Rice, to intensify the advocacy on the following issues that impact disposable incomes for black, brown and low-income residents of New Jersey:

  • Auto Insurance Reform
  • Completion of the disparity study and implementation of MWBE goals
  • like those in New York State
  • Raising of the Project Labor Agreement Threshold on Public Contracts in New Jersey from $5 Million to $35 Million to coincide with the levels that President Biden has instituted for federal contracts.

The above legislative recommendations would have an immediate impact on disposal income levels for low wage earners that drive, and the net worth gap between blacks ($5,900) vs whites ($315,000) in New Jersey.

These changes will require intentional actions fortified with courage in order to bring them to fruition; the time has long since passed to get these things done. This would be pleasing to our leader, the late great Senator Rice, and affirm that his labor was not in vain.

Rest in peace, my brother, mentor and confidant.

John E. Harmon, Sr., IOM

Founder, President & CEO


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