When the Democratic candidate for governor arrived on Hillside Terrace in West Orange, he knew it was friendly territory. This is a heavily Democratic part of New Jersey, near Newark and about 15 miles from New York City. Even so, he had to bridge the gaps between the Bernie Sanders wing of the party and the few moderates who attended the party. Only one of the Republican neighbors chose to attend.
Here are some of the questions the neighbors had for Murphy, and his answers:
Murphy said he would phase in the raise so it wouldn’t shock New Jersey’s economy but that it was necessary to intervene because the market was not correcting the vast income inequality in New Jersey. “If you earn the minimum wage in the state of New Jersey and you’re a two income household, you’ve got two kids you’re below the poverty line. That’s why you need government.”
Murphy said he would invest in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) programs across the state and across a broad range of educational levels, from vocational education to advanced degrees. He said he would also look for partnerships between the state’s universities and technology businesses.
Murphy said he would improve K-12 schools by fully funding the state’s formula that determined state aid. He would also build more respect for teachers and put resources into helping poor families by raising the minimum wage and providing services that ensure children get basic services that will allow them to learn.
Murphy said he was concerned for his three teenage children but he was convinced by the research and the experience in other states that legalizing marijuana was the right thing to do. He believed the state could devise a good law and a plan that took into account the experience of the other states that went first. “It’s a social justice issue for me. First of all, the biggest contributor to the white/non-white gap in persons incarcerated are low-level drug crimes.”
“Yes I worked at Goldman Sachs, but there are other skills I picked up there that are relevant for what ails us right now,” Murphy said, pointing to his study of job creation all over the world and working with bond-rating agencies. “My life, like all of us, is a book. It’s filled with many chapters.” Goldman Sachs was just one of those chapters, he said.
Part of Voting Block: A statewide collaborative reporting project to encourage political discussion and more informed voters in neighborhoods across New Jersey ahead of this fall’s gubernatorial election.