Camden Leaders Discuss City’s Economic Landscape with Gov. Murphy

Gov. Phil Murphy was in the city of Camden yesterday, joined by business, community, and faith-based leaders, the mayor of Camden, state legislators and stakeholders, to discuss the current economic landscape and the state of the city.

Discussing the dialogue in the room during the meeting, Dana Redd, CEO of Camden Community Partnership, said, “To have a meaningful and substantive conversation between our business leaders and Gov. Murphy was incredibly productive for the group. This isn’t information being relayed to the governor by staff, but a firsthand account for him on what is working now and what will stimulate economic activity in the future.”

To date, job opportunities have been bolstered throughout the city and the local workforce has grown significantly over the last 10 years. In addition, more than $2.5 billion in private and public investment has been made in Camden over the past 10 years.

Camden City Mayor Victor Carstarphen talked about the importance of a direct discussion with policy makers to take the city to the next level.

“I think it’s time for us to start taking a second look at the tools urban areas need to keep up and grow in the current economy. Throughout my administration the governor has been a great partner and I hope we can continue the positive momentum for the residents of Camden,” Carstarphen said.

Camden has experienced significant economic growth over the last 10 years, becoming one of the fastest growing job markets in the nation, according to federal data in 2017. Last year, the city recorded its lowest unemployment rate, 6.7%, in more than 30 years, according to state labor statistics. In addition, wage growth has risen significantly higher over the last 10 years to complement job growth and the reduction in unemployment.

Chairman of Cooper University Health Care and a board member of Camden Community Partnership, George E. Norcross III, said he was happy to have the Governor in the city.

“We had a substantial conversation today about the tools that are needed for distressed cities in the state need to move forward,” Norcross said. “Between my role as a Chairman of the Board of the largest employer in Camden County and as a business owner here in the city, I thought the group gave the governor some good points to keep the momentum going in our urban areas throughout the state.”

On top of the private and public investment in the city over the last 10 years there is also a new public safety paradigm that is rooted in community policing. Since the Camden County Police Department operationalized in 2013, murders are down almost 70% and violent crime has been cut in half since 2012. Based on the agency’s community focus the city was recognized by President Barack Obama as a model for the nation regarding policing.

Commissioner Jeffrey Nash who moderated the event, talked about the progress made in the city to date.

“If you look at where we’ve come from there is a demonstratable difference in the city today from 10 years ago, but we cannot become complacent and forget about the promises we’ve made to the people of Camden,” Nash said. “We need to keep pushing to improve the city and deliver on those important objectives and goals that have not been attained yet and I believe this conversation was an important one to move closer to fulfilling those promises to the community.”

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