Hispanic Leaders Praises Jacquelyn Suarez’s Nomination to Lead Department of Community Affairs


AC JosepH Media

TRENTON — Latino leaders around the state and others praised the selection of Jacquelyn Suárez as the state’s next commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs, replacing the late Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver who oversaw it during her term.

Latina Civic, which advocates for the promotion of Latinas into leadership positions statewide, the Statewide Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey, Sen. Nellie Pou, the Senate Majority Caucus Chair, Assemblywoman Yvonne Lopez, Chair of the Housing Committee, and Assemblywoman Annette Quijano, Assembly Majority Conference Leader, all hailed the nomination.

The nomination makes Suárez the first Latina to ever serve in the position and she is now among the highest-ranking Latinas in the New Jersey state government.

Highlighting the great culture and leadership in South Jersey’s Hispanic community.

“I’ve witnessed firsthand Jacquelyn’s dedication in her current role as director of Local Government Services at DCA,” Pou said in a statement released by Murphy’s office. “As she steps into her new role, she not only carries the torch of our beloved Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver but also carries her vision for housing and community development in New Jersey.”

Lopez said she believes Suárez was the right person to follow in Oliver’s footsteps, whose impact on the department will be felt for years to come.

READ: Local leaders remember Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver in her passing

“I am glad that Governor Murphy has nominated such an incredible individual to take the helm of the department,” Lopez said. “Jacquelyn’s knowledge and experience, especially her role in assisting our local governments makes her an ideal candidate for the position, and I am confident that she will continue our shared mission of ensuring housing opportunity for all.”

Quijano added that she looks forward to working with Suarez in her new position.

“As a fellow attorney who holds a deep respect for the late Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver, I am genuinely enthused to witness someone with a remarkable career, like Jacquelyn, stepping up to continue the Lt. Governor’s great legacy,” she said.

Locally, Camden Mayor Victor Carstarphen joined a list of city leaders who also praised Suárez’s arrival to lead the department.

“I wholeheartedly support Gov. Phil Murphy’s nomination of Jacquelyn Suárez as Department of Community Affairs Commissioner,” he said. “In her role as the director of Local Government Services, Jacquelyn has been incredibly professional, knowledgeable, and fully responsive to the fiscal health needs of our municipality. Her nomination will lead to a tremendous improvement in the quality of life for so many throughout New Jersey.”

Suárez said it was an honor to be nominated to lead the department she had worked in and to take up the mantle left by Oliver.

“It is a true honor to be nominated as the Department of Community Affairs’ next commissioner,” Suárez said. “Having worked under the remarkable leadership of Lt. Gov. Oliver, it is my pleasure to continue moving her legacy forward in serving the communities of our great state.

“DCA plays a pivotal role in enhancing the quality of life for New Jersey residents, municipalities, and businesses – and I will remain steadfast in my commitment to honor each and every one of our communities with the utmost respect and dedication.”

Since she began leading the DLGS in January 2021, Suárez has served as an advocate for local government interests and provided them with technical and financial assistance in a number of areas – including joint services, purchasing, and management issues.

She has also overseen the review and approval of all municipal, county, and fire district budgets, worked to uphold the financial integrity of local government units, and guided the conduct of local government officials.

As director of DLGS, Suárez also served as chair of the State’s Local Finance Board since January 2021.

Prior to serving as the Director of DLGS, Suárez provided legal advice to Governor Murphy on matters affecting his Administration as an associate counsel in the Governor’s Office. During her time in the Governor’s Office, Suárez advised on pending legislation, statutory responsibilities, litigation, the development of administrative regulations, and various proposals impacting the Governor’s public policy agenda.

With a focus on issues related to the Departments of Community Affairs, Human Services, Children and Families, and the Administrative Office of the Courts, Suárez was integral to advancing the Governor’s agenda in these areas and, in particular, to spearheading many of the State’s COVID response policies such as the eviction moratorium.

Before joining the Governor’s Office, Suárez was a legislative liaison, making her DCA’s point person for all communication with the State Legislature, drafted bill language, spearheaded the implementation of newly signed legislation at DCA, and helped review and advise on various decisions, orders, settlements, and other matters impacting the Department. 

Suárez is a New Jersey native who earned her Juris Doctor from Rutgers School of Law in Camden and her bachelor’s degree in communications, legal institutions, economics, and government from American University in Washington D.C. She is a member of both the New Jersey and New York bar associations. She is also a member of the Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey.

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