A lawyer by trade, state Senator Mike Testa (R-1) has a reputation as a good and impassioned orator on the floor of the state senate – and an aggressive one as he routinely objects to the policies of Governor Phil Murphy – but he said even he gets regular messages from constituents who want him to do more.
Testa and his fellow Republican lawmakers want Murphy to hear those voices, too – not merely online in the angst-ridden blizzard of social media, but organized on a website by the Senate GOP. They have a simple rule on that site – “Please remain civil, stay on topic, and refrain from using foul or abusive language. Posts that violate those rules may be hidden or deleted, and repeated violators may be blocked.”
That said, “Facebook messenger shows me people have reached an all-time level of frustration,” Testa told InsiderNJ. He points out that he routinely, vociferously takes his case to Murphy, but “They tell me, ‘you’re not doing enough.’ People are messaging me, telling me all I’m doing is a floor speech or sending another letter.”
Voters sent a message last year by nearly turning Murphy out of office. He won by the skin of his teeth, with the backing of northern counties like Essex and Hudson, even as state Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-3) got the heave-ho down south, where Testa resides.
“I’m not so sure Democrats in North Jersey heard it or understood it,” the Vineland-based Republican said of Murphy’s three-percent squeak-out win.
Testa wants to get New Jersey out from under Murphy’s executive orders.
He wants to legislate, he said, but his office finds itself encumbered by unemployment claims, motor vehicle issues and basic functions of government he says the Murphy Administration fails to deliver to real people.
Instead of being humbled by nearly getting upset by Ciattarelli, “The governor has been emboldened by his win. The political cognoscenti have not heard the message that came from LD1, and LD2” and LD3, where trucker Ed Durr beat Sweeney.
Testa pointed out that his 2019 win was “the tip of the spear” that drove South Jersey deeper into the red. “We set the bar and record for turnout. We have changed a lot of opinions.”
The website engineered by Senate Minority Leader Steve Oroho (R-24), Testa, and Senator Declan O’Scanlon (R-13) will house the grievances of real people, talking about real problems, including rising fuel and food costs.
Testa insisted it won’t simply turn into another cocoon of cacophony. “I don’t want to contribute to cultural entropy, however, I do want to use this to illustrate real life stories,” he said. “It’s going to have to be monitored by the Senate Republican Office.”
He doesn’t want to see ad hominem attacks against the governor or anger management issues run amok. That would merely interfere with the objective, in an environment, Testa said, where too many people are legitimately hurting.