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TRENTON, NJ-Perhaps stung by criticism that his administration is anti-growth, and certainly troubled by the economy’s continuing sluggishness, Gov. Jim McGreevey has signed an executive order creating the Commission on Jobs, Growth and Economic Development. McGreevey will co-chair the panel, along with Dr. P. Roy Vagelos, the retired CEO of Merck and Co., and Shirley Tilghman, president of Princeton University.

“The commission will set forth a blueprint to enable New Jersey to not simply compete in the new economy, but to thrive and prosper in the coming decade,” McGreevey said in a written statement. “We have the ability to make New Jersey the premier state for research, development and innovation, and to encourage companies to build facilities here.”

McGreevey also laid out five specific focal points for his program, beginning with building up the state’s universities’ research capabilities. The others include having policies and programs in place to support R&D, attracting additional federal funding, identifying emerging technologies and putting the state’s educational system, “at every level,” under the microscope for possible improvement.

The commission is peopled by a who’s who of the public and private sectors in the Garden State. Included are everyone from Dr. Richard McCormick, newly sworn in as president of Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey and US Senator Jon Corzine, to the top execs of such companies as Lucent, the Sarnoff Corp., Roche USA and Novartis.

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