New Jersey governor-elect Jon Corzine announced on Thursday, Jan. 5, that he would nominate Rutgers Law School-Newark Associate Dean Ronald Chen to be New Jersey’s first public advocate since the post was abolished 11 years ago.

Last July, Acting Governor Richard Codey signed a law re-creating the Department of the Public Advocate, which was scheduled to open at noon on Jan. 17 with seven divisions, devoted to civil relations, rate counsel, mental health, developmentally disabled advocacy, elder advocacy, administration and public interest. Chen, if confirmed by the state Senate as department head, would earn $141,000 a year.