New Jersey's 26th Legislative District

Senator Joe Pennacchio

Senator Joe Pennacchio

Pennacchio Dismayed by Lack of Communication Between Governor, Health Commissioner as Coronavirus Takes Toll

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 ‘After two months of isolation, it is unbelievable the Governor and health commissioner have yet to have a one-on-one talk.’

Senator Joe Pennacchio has a message for Governor Phil Murphy: Please call health commissioner Judith Persichilli.

Senator Pennacchio said he is dismayed to read that while the coronavirus has claimed more than 10,000 New Jersey lives, with more than half of them occurring in nursing homes, the Governor has not spoken one-on-one with the health commissioner. (

According to a published report, the commissioner told several health department officials, “I never have the Governor’s attention,” and “I have never had a one-on-one with him.”

“It’s time for that to change. Pick up the phone, Governor, and get on the same page,” said Pennacchio (R-26).

“This is unfathomable. In the middle of the most serious health crisis of our lifetimes, the apparent lack of communication between the state’s top elected official and his No. 1 general in the war with COVID-19 is mind-boggling. It is difficult to imagine this leadership void has not contributed to COVID’s carnage in our communities and among seniors in nursing homes across the state.”

According to the state’s own dashboard, almost 530 long-term care facilities are battling coronavirus outbreaks, and more than 5,300 vulnerable seniors have died in nursing homes in New Jersey. That is more than half the state-wide death toll of 10,356.

“This borders on public service malpractice. The Governor and the commissioner are locked down like the rest of us. If not the health commissioner, who is advising the Governor?” Pennacchio asked.

“This pandemic has had a devastating impact on life at every level in this state. The State Senate must act immediately to form a Senate Select Committee to investigate and oversee the administration’s handling of this emergency in real time,” added the Senator. “New Jersey residents deserve more from the Administration.”

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