This Week In Trenton – January 27, 2010

January 28, 2010

Christie Nominates Commissioner of Health and Senior Services, Executive Director of School Development Authority Board.

Governor Chris Christie today nominated Dr. Poonam Alaigh, to serve as Commissioner of Health and Senior Services and Marc Larkins to serve as Executive Director of the New Jersey School Development Authority Board.

Dr. Alaigh is the Executive Director at Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey where she is responsible for the major clinical areas that ensure the delivery of healthcare. Prior to joining Horizon BCBSNJ, Dr. Alaigh served as National Medical Director for GlaxoSmithKline and was working with health plans on a number of national issues, including better use of health care technology, the reduction of disparities in health care and healthcare access to the under and uninsured population.

Dr. Alaigh continues her clinical work at the New Jersey Veterans Administration at Lyons, providing direct patient care and is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Family Practice at UMDNJ / Robert Wood Johnson University Medical School. Dr. Alaigh has had publications in the field of vascular disease and population health. She is a board certified internist with a specialty in vascular diseases and is certified as a Diplomate in Internal Medicine and licensed to practice in New York and New Jersey. She graduated from the University of Delhi, New Delhi, India and received her MD and her Masters in Health Care Policy and Management at State University of New York at Stony Brook, NY.

Dr. Alaigh is a fellow of the American College of Physicians, one of the founding members of SATHI (South Asian Total Healthcare Initiative) a program of the UMDNJ-RWJMS in New Jersey, is the past president and current member of the Board of Directors for the American Heart Association, Northern New Jersey chapter and the Founders’ affiliate. She was appointed to serve on Governor-Elect Corzine’s Transition Team on health care policy, strategies and issues in 2005. She was appointed to the Board of Trustees for the College of New Jersey in 2007. Dr Alaigh currently resides in Warren, New Jersey.

Larkins is an Assistant United States Attorney in the US Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey. He has held the titles of Executive Assistant US Attorney, Acting First Assistant US Attorney and Acting Executive US Attorney. Larkins also worked in a number of Divisions within the US Attorney’s office, including serving as Chief of the Government Fraud Unit. As Chief, he was responsible for the supervision of investigations of fraud committed against federal agencies and programs.

Prior to serving in the US Attorney’s office, Mr. Larkins was a Trail Attorney in the US Department of Justice, Criminal Division from 1999 to March of 2003, where he was responsible for the investigation and prosecution of international and domestic narcotics trafficking organizations. Concurrently, from February of 2000 to March of 2002, Mr. Larkins was Special Assistant US Attorney for the District of Columbia.

He is a graduate of Seton Hall University School of Law and he earned his B.S., Magna Cum Laude, from Seton Hall University. Mr. Larkins currently resides in Irvington, New Jersey.

Fisher to Remain Agriculture Secretary

Governor Chris Christie this week indicated his support for Agriculture Secretary Douglas Fisher continuing in his position. Unlike administration officials whom the governor selects, the secretary of Agriculture is appointed by the State Board of Agriculture. Fisher’s appointment was approved by former Gov. Jon Corzine on Feb. 10, 2009. Fisher replaced Charles M. Kuperus as Agriculture Secretary. Fisher, a Democrat, was a four-term assemblyman from the 3rd District. He also previously served on the Cumberland County Board of Freeholders, where he was director from 1996 to 2000; the Bridgeton City Council; the South Jersey Economic Development District; and the South Jersey Transportation Planning Organization. Fisher served in the New Jersey National Guard and owned a supermarket for 30 years. He also was a realtor and owned The Entrepreneur’s Source, which aids people seeking business and franchise opportunities. He received a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Bryant College in Rhode Island. He and his wife, Bonnie, have three children.

Assembly Leaders Announce Bi-Partisan Hearing on Improving New Jersey

Assembly Speaker Sheila Y. Oliver and Assembly Republican Leader Alex DeCroce announced the Assembly will host a special bipartisan public hearing on Tuesday, Feb. 2 to hear first-hand from New Jerseyans their ideas on fixing and improving the state. The hearing is scheduled for 3 to 7 p.m. in Committee Room 11 at the State House Annex in Trenton. Anyone wishing to testify is urged to make a reservation by calling the Legislative Budget and Finance Office at 609-292-8030 or by sending an e-mail to

The membership of the Bi-Partisan Leadership Committee is:
Assemblywoman Sheila Y. Oliver (D34) – Co-Chair
Assemblyman Alex DeCroce (R26) – Co-Chair
Assemblyman Jon M. Bramnick (R21)
Assemblyman Joseph Cryan (D20)
Assemblyman Jerry Green (D22)
Assemblyman Louis D. Greenwald (D6)
Assemblyman Joseph R. Malone, III (R30)
Assemblywoman Nelida “Nellie” Pou (D35)
Assemblywoman Joan M. Quigley (D32)
Assemblyman David P. Rible (R11)
Assemblyman Scott T. Rumana (R40)
Assemblyman Samuel D. Thompson (R13)

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