Princeton Councilwoman Heather Howard named to Murphy transition team


By Philip Sean Curran, Staff Writer
Gov.-elect Phil Murphy tabbed Princeton Councilwoman Heather Howard, a former state Commissioner of Health and Senior Services, to be on his transition team.
Howard, a Democrat, will serve on the health care committee, part of a larger group of advisers to the incoming Democratic governor, who takes office in January.
“I’m obviously honored and excited to be part of such a strong and diverse transition team,” she said by phone Monday, when the team was announced. “He has an ambitious and progressive agenda. So I’m excited to help get that off the ground next year with a new administration.”
During the campaign, Muprhy pledged, as part of his health care platform, to lower insurance premiums, enroll uninsured children in health coverage and restore state funding to Planned Parenthood.
In terms of her possibly joining the Murphy administration as a cabinet member, Howard shot that suggestion down.
“Oh, I’m not looking to go back to Trenton. I love what I’m doing right now,” said Howard, who served in the administration of former Gov. Jon Corzine from 2008 to 2010. She works at Princeton University, where she is a lecturer, and is director of the State Health and Value Strategies and Advancing Coverage in States.
“I think it’s great that there’s somebody from Princeton who’s part of the transition team and who is already building relationships with the next administration,” Mayor Liz Lempert told reporters Monday.
Howard was in line to be on the transition team of Hillary Clinton had Clinton won the presidency last year.
“I was involved and knew people on the policy team and on the transition team and would have loved to have pitched in had there been a President-elect Clinton,” she said.
Murphy also named Linda J. Schwimmer, who sits on the Princeton Board of Health and is the president and CEO of the New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute, to serve on the same committee as Howard.