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On governor's team to Mexico, CEOs and restaurant owners

On governor's team to Mexico, CEOs and restaurant owners

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As he courts Mexican investors during a trade mission this week, Gov. Christie will be accompanied by a 15-member delegation featuring a number of CEOs, political allies, and Hispanic leaders. The delegation members, whose names were released by Christie’s office Tuesday, range from energy company executives to restaurateurs and a Mexican pastor who is a leader among Hispanic evangelical Christians. They will join the New Jersey governor during his three-day itinerary, which begins Wednesday and will feature meetings with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto and other political and business leaders. The trip is billed as a mission that will build on New Jersey’s relations with its second-largest export partner, with a focus on the energy, pharmaceutical and higher education sectors. The Christie team includes Motorola CEO and Rutgers Board of Governors chairman Greg Brown, New Jersey Resources CEO Laurence Downes, PSEG CEO and outgoing Rutgers Board of Governors Chairman Ralph Izzo, and Celgene executive Rich Bagger, who is a former chief of staff of Christie’s.

The list also features Hispanic business and community members, including Martin Perez, the president of the Latino Leadership Alliance of New Jersey, a statewide Hispanic group that endorsed Christie’s reelection. Christie appointed Perez to serve on the Rutgers Board of Governors.

Two restaurant owners will also travel with Christie. Leo Cervantes, who owns a Highlands restaurant that was destroyed by Hurricane Sandy, appeared in a campaign ad for Christie last year. The other, Pedro Matar, co-owns a group of Mexican restaurants in New York and New Jersey.

The CEO of the U.S.-Mexico Chamber of Commerce, Al Zapanta, also will travel with Christie, along with business executive Mauricio Doehner of CEMEX, the Mexican cement giant that has an office in Jersey City, and Raul Rendon Ponce, described by Christie’s office as the founder of Bioplastic Solutions.

Christie will also be joined by the Rev. Fermin Garcia, a Tijuana pastor who leads a Mexican chapter of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference. Garcia is also an activist working to expand an anti-pornography law across Mexico, according to Christie’s office.

The trip is coordinated by Robert Grady, a former George W. Bush administration official who serves as chairman of the New Jersey State Investment Council, and Clifford Sobel, a former U.S. ambassador to Brazil who is managing partner of Valor Capital Group, which invests in Brazil. Grady and Sobel are members of the delegation.

Michele Brown, the CEO of the state Economic Development Authority, and Tracye McDaniel, the CEO of Choose New Jersey, a privately funded nonprofit that is part of the state’s economic development organization, also are members of the delegation.

Choose New Jersey will pay for the delegation costs, which have not been disclosed. The governor’s office said it would review security costs at the end of the trip.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/christie_chronicles/On-governors-team-to-Mexico-CEOs-and-restaurant-owners.html#Foz2bDfKZJV5Lp2S.99