The former U.S. ambassador to Germany and possible gubernatorial candidate, Phillip Murphy sat down to chat with NJTV News Chief Political Correspondent Michael Aron. Murphy announced the launch of a new organization — one year later after having launched New Start New Jersey — New Way for New Jersey, a 527 political action committee, in which anyone can contribute unlimited amounts o money, but can not expressly advocate for a specific candidate.
“New Start New Jersey has been a very successful, I think valuable contributor to putting forward a middle class agenda for the state of New Jersey as a way to get our economy back on its feet,” said Murphy. “And that continues to be the case and it will go on well into the future doing just that. New Way for New Jersey is a organization as you suggested we launched today, which is also all about the middle class, but it’s very partisan, it’s connecting that agenda explicitly with Democratic voters and I’m very very excited about kicking off today.”
While New Start New Jersey is considered as a think tank, Murphy said that New Way for New Jersey is not a Super PAC and that it has nothing to do with any candidacy or his own.
“This is all about a middle class first agenda as a way to get back on our feet in New Jersey,” Murphy said.
When asked what the Middle Class Agenda is, Murphy said when New Start New Jersey was launched, the organization had asked people to self identify and that 76 percent of people defined themselves as the middle class. He also said that there is a whole series of pieces that add up the the agenda –good jobs, wages, education, investing into assets and infrastructure.
Murphy said that New Way for New Jersey is different from other organizations as it is a Democratic agenda and said the organization has not seen a comprehensive agenda for the middle class that puts the middle class first.
“This is first and foremost a Democratic agenda,” said Murphy. “Secondly, while we’ve seen episodic developments on that agenda, we haven’t seen a comprehensive agenda for the middle class that affirmatively puts the middle class first. And the state is screaming out for that agenda to be taken hold with voters and it’s one thing to have good work being done on how you construct that agenda, and I’m proud of the work we’ve done. It’s another to have folks go in and pull that ballot and say you know I affirmatively support this agenda, and that is what this is about.”
Murphy is one of five people often mentioned as a possible gubernatorial candidate for the 2017 elections, along with Senate President Steve Sweeney, Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop, Senator Ray Lesniak, and Assemblyman John Wisniewski. While some of the people mentioned as possible candidates may have more experience on state issues, Murphy said that he has respect for them and that he too has been working on issues around the state.
“I’ve also spent the past year and a half, literally almost everyday of my life going around the state, mostly listening, trying to understand what the challenges are,” he said. “You know what, I feel as qualified as anybody. I think to be associated with an organization like this and I’m proud of that. I’m from the middle class, I want to stand up on behalf of it.”