CAMDEN, NJ: Camden leaders serving in City and State offices today sent a clear and unequivocal message to Governor Phil Murphy in advance of what is believed to be only his second visit to the City in the 17 months he’s served: Phil Murphy is not welcome in Camden until he stops attacking the city and the progress it’s making. Mayor Frank Moran, City Council President Curtis Jenkins and State Senator Nilsa Cruz-Perez who represent the people of Camden in City and State Government united to deliver the message to the Governor, who has repeatedly attacked or otherwise tried to stop the progress the city is making while he’s been in office.
“Governor Phil Murphy is swooping into Camden to attend a small group event out of the eye of the public, but he won’t come here to talk to the leaders of the city about why he’s attacking it or the potentially devastating impacts his attacks could have on the amazing progress Camden is making,” said Mayor Moran today. “That’s why it’s so important that he understand from those of us who were elected to represent the people of Camden a simple message: he’s not welcome here unless and until he stops attacking the City and talks to the people of Camden and the leaders who were elected to represent them. Using Trenton attack dogs to try to destroy any of the more than two dozen companies which are making major investments in Camden makes it harder to attract new ones here, and that hurts the people of Camden.”
In recent weeks, Governor Murphy has focused a handpicked panel on attacking Camden, a city that has undergone an amazing renaissance and won national plaudits. He has attacked the rapid economic development the city is benefitting from and stood silent while his allies denigrate the progress that’s been made to improve public safety and reform education. As many as 30 companies have relocated or are expanding in Camden under the Grow NJ program, but by selecting only a few to attack, Governor Murphy casts a pall over all of them.
“I am a little stunned that Governor Murphy would come to Camden to discuss inclusive growth for a simple reason: he hasn’t offered a plan for Camden on anything, much less inclusive growth,” said City Council President Curtis Jenkins. “From the first days of his administration, we have wanted to have a partner in the Governor’s office, just as we have with previous governors. But instead he’s tried to slash funding for Camden projects and even held up already approved funding. He’s never wanted to be a partner, and frankly, it hurts our city and its people.”
In his 17 months in office, Governor Murphy has come to Camden only one other time, despite its status as one of the poorest and most violent cities in the country for decades. Over the last decade, through an unprecedented partnership between and among government, business, non-profits and the community, Camden has been able to dramatically reduce crime, improve education and graduation rates, and rebuild an economic base needed to provide jobs for citizens and tax revenues. Despite his attacks on Camden’s progress, Governor Murphy has yet to put forth any alternative plan for Camden.
“What we have done is amazing and we will not be party to nor will we tolerate any efforts to turn back the hard-fought progress that has been made in Camden over the last several years to attract businesses, rebuild our housing inventory, improve public safety and our k-12 education system,” said State Senator Nilsa Cruz-Perez. “As Camden’s representative in Trenton, I will continue to strongly advocate for the city and ensure that legislative and public initiatives originating in Trenton will benefit Camden just as they do North Jersey communities. And if Phil Murphy is willing to work with us toward those goals, great. But if not, he shouldn’t come here.”
Today, Camden is the safest it has been in fifty years, graduation rates in the city have reached 69%, over one thousand homes are being rehabilitated or being built in all neighborhoods, unemployment is the lowest it has been in more than two decades and dozens of businesses are moving into or expanding their operations in the city.