Murphy Tells New Jersey What America Needs

Christie Whitman popped up today on NJ Spotlight News to say that a second inaugural is the time to be “really bold.” By that measuring stick, Phil Murphy was not.

As he bluntly put it in the midst of his roughly 30-minute address after taking the oath, “I am who I said I would be.”

And we in New Jersey kind of know who he is – an unapologetic liberal, which depending on your view is either very good or just plain awful.

Given the fact Murphy was reelected – albeit by a close margin – he’s entitled to believe a majority of voters support his philosophy.

Still, he could not avoid some recent history. Murphy said he was “humbled” to be the first Democrat in 44 years to be reelected governor.

And then, the re-sworn governor spoke of the day as a time of “renewing our priorities.”

That meant a commitment to move people forward without leaving anyone behind. This was another way to say he still longs to make New Jersey “stronger and fairer.”

He paid tribute to the suffering of the pandemic and also to the state’s history as the Garden State.

First, it was the center of agriculture for a very young nation. And then the center of industry for a still growing nation.

And now, he spoke of New Jersey as the “Opportunity State,” a place where families can live the American Dream and where businesses can grow and prosper.

On that score, Murphy said he expected his next four years to see significant growth in clean energy, most notably offshore wind, life sciences, TV and film production, cannabis and online gambling. Of that group, offshore wind and cannabis, or if you prefer, weed, certainly mesh with the governor’s liberal bent.

But all is not rosy in New Jersey.

Three areas of note got particular mention from Murphy – health care, higher education and property taxes, the last of which is one of those New Jersey issues that just do not go away.

He spoke of continuing to “keep chopping away at property taxes.” He expressed delight that the rate of yearly increase has slowed, but said that’s not good enough. He said he wanted property taxes to actually decrease, which is far easier said than done.

There was an overall theme here.

With Phil Murphy at the helm, state government will do all it can to help those who need it most. After all, as he said, the mission that began four years ago has not ended. This, you see, is year five of an eight-year partnership.

It’s impossible to ignore the ongoing divisiveness in Washington. Murphy did not.

He referenced Donald Trump’s “big lie” without referencing the man himself, adding that New Jersey is different.

He said that while some in Washington want to fight each other, in New Jersey, “we still fight for each other.”

It’s understandable the governor wants to draw a contrast between national politics and New Jersey, but the facts can’t be overlooked. The political division in New Jersey, especially over Murphy’s pandemic policies, is as bad as it is anywhere else.

But you have to excuse the optimism; this was an inaugural address.

In searching history for a suitable quote,  Murphy found one from Adlai Stevenson, who twice ran for president against Dwight Eisenhower and lost.

His quote – coming during the era of McCarthyism, though was a good one. What America needed is ….
“A patriotism that puts country ahead of self; a patriotism which is not short, frenzied outbursts of emotion, but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime.”

To which Murphy commented:

“We need this patriotism again.”

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One response to “Murphy Tells New Jersey What America Needs”

  1. It is with gleaming admiration and pride that our great Governor Phil Murphy was sworn in for his second term in office and we will have the advantage of the Governor’s professional, knowledgeable and most of all caring leadership in our state assisted by Lt. Governor Shelia Oliver.

    The Governor, as he stated is committed to making our state more affordable and continuing the many programs he innovated to assist all from the very young to the most senior. He will push to further strengthen gun control laws and protect voting rights. He is determined to make New Jersey the showplace of our nation where “our common destiny as Americans, regardless of our political party or persuasion is reaffirmed”.

    It is noted that those on both sides of the aisle are eager to work with our Governor as it is well recognized that his programs are geared to assist all in our state. It is an honor for New Jersey that our Governor will serve as the chair of the National Governors Association this year and a second term as chair of the Democratic Governors Association next year.

    We wish our Governor, Lt. Governor and families all of the best of health always and we feel secure that our state has, is and will continue to move forward with the Murphy administration n Trenton.

    Respectfully submitted,

    Robert B. Knapp, Jersey City
    Member of the Hudson County Democratic Committee since 1969

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