Assemblywoman Britnee N. Timberlake (D-Essex, Passaic) has been appointed Chair of the Assembly Commerce and Economic Development Committee. She is one of nine members appointed by Assembly Speaker Craig J. Coughlin to serve as chairpersons for the first time.
With plans to address longtime issues, Timberlake brings over eleven years of experience to the committee. She has knowledge, commitment, and a proven track record within the economic development sector. Timberlake has worked to enhance the economy by creating opportunity, prosperity, and improving quality of life for both the community and individual working families.
“With her background helping to foster economic opportunity for both businesses and individuals throughout our state, Assemblywoman Timberlake was an obvious choice to lead the Commerce and Economic Development Committee,” said Assembly Speaker Coughlin (D-Middlesex). “I have no doubt she will play an important part as Chair of this committee, working to move New Jersey’s economy forward through pandemic recovery, community stabilization, growth and beyond.”
Timberlake has represented residents of Essex and Passaic Counties in the Assembly since 2018. Last session, she was Vice Chair of the Community Development and Affairs Committee and served as a member of the Housing Committee. Throughout the session, she worked to advance critical legislation on behalf of residents, including a law that provided significant financial relief to tenants and landlords impacted by COVID-19.
In her previous role as President of the Essex County Board of Chosen Freeholders, Timberlake spearheaded a Clean Jobs Initiative to help provide training and job placement in highly-specialized trades for unemployed residents of the county. She also championed a law to increase economic opportunities for women, minority, and veteran-owned businesses in the county by removing systemic barriers to the government bidding processes. Further, Timberlake introduced legislation to ensure banks were working to reduce foreclosures and lend to small businesses as a part of their Community Reinvestment Act requirements.
Both as a Freeholder and an Assembly member, she advocated for the minimum wage to be raised to $15 an hour. She was one of the prime sponsors of the 2019 law that increased New Jersey’s minimum wage in response to rising cost of living and stagnant wages.
Alongside Harold Simon, the former longtime publisher of ShelterForce magazine, Timberlake founded the Essex Community Land Trust (ECLT) nonprofit. The primary mission of the ECLT centers the creation of permanent affordable homeownership, rental, and financial empowerment opportunities for working-class families and individuals throughout the county.
Timberlake is the only woman, and the only African-American woman to chair the Assembly Commerce and Economic Development Committee.
“As I begin my third term in the General Assembly, I am honored to lead the Commerce and Economic Development Committee,” said Assemblywoman Timberlake. “During a time when businesses and communities are suffering due to the pandemic and other systemic issues, the work of this committee is paramount. I look forward to ensuring New Jersey continues to create opportunities by making long-term investments in our infrastructure as well as rebuilding and growing our businesses, workforce, housing stock and development projects. Together with various stakeholders, leadership, and my colleagues, we will promote legislation that makes smart investments to grow the economy and enhance residents’ prosperity and quality of life. It is my top priority to make sure these goals are achieved sustainably, environmentally safe, and equitably for all New Jersey residents.”