The New Jersey Chamber of Commerce awarded its 2018 Alice H. Parker Women Leaders in Innovation Award to Assemblywomen Nancy Munoz and Shavonda Sumter, at a Thursday evening reception at the National Conference Center in East Windsor.
In addition to serving in public office, both women have worked in the health care field. Munoz, R-21st District, as a nurse and Sumter, D-35th District, as director of behavioral health services at Hackensack UMC Mountainside Hospital in Glen Ridge.
“When Assemblywomen Muñoz and Sumter discuss health care at the State House, they are not just discussing concepts from a high tower,” said chamber president Tom Bracken. “They are discussing real life – the real life they have experienced on the ground.”
Bracken added: “It’s very obvious why we gave this honor to both of them.”
At the reception, both lawmakers stressed the bipartisanship that they have fostered together since taking office.
“I’ve worked with Sumter on issues,” Munoz said. “I was telling someone earlier, when I see an issue that’s important, the first thing I do is look for a Democrat because I’m a member of the minority party and it’s important we have bipartisan support,” which prompted laughs from the crowd.
Munoz said that “being an innovator in health care” during this day and age in the United States is “critically important.”
“I’m a nurse and we have to make sure that all people who are licensed, experienced and credentialed to provide health care are allowed to do so in the state of New Jersey,” Munoz said.
Sumter said she views Munoz and the chamber as “partners to help our industries grow and come up with life-saving solutions.”