Phil Murphy, New Jersey's 56th governor Took the oath of office on Jan. 16
New Jersey's 56th governor, Phil Murphy
New Jersey has a new governor, De mocrat Phil Murphy, a financier and former U.S. Ambassador to Germany. Below are excerpts of his inaugural address. My fellow New Jerseyans, 70 days ago you chose to take our state in a new direction. Today, full of optimism and hope for a better future, we begin that journey together. The work of our administration will be about you, your families, and your communities. We will never lose sight that we are one state and one family, with different beliefs but common dreams, and that we do not succeed unless we all succeed… …To Lieutenant Governor Sheila Oliver, I am excited and grateful to have you as my partner in this new administration. Your grace and good humor, your experience and knowledge, and your lifelong commitment to public service and improving the lives of those left at our society’s margins have been an inspiration to me and to many across our state. I am ready to tackle the issues with you by my side. You have made history before and you have just made it again… ... It is leadership that has driven America through the generations to be the envy of the world, to have saved it from fascism and other existential threats, and to have made us a force for good around the world, and a beacon for peace and prosperity. It is leadership that has made our country a place where immigrants still come in hope of a better future. It is an American truth summed up so succinctly by President John Fitzgerald Kennedy -- whose family Bible I had the honor of placing my hand upon moments ago -- that as Americans, we do things "not because they are easy, but because they are hard." …At this time, with the challenges facing our state and its people, our leadership and vision must once again align. For too long, too much has been done only for the short term and only from self-interest. The long-term common good, along with our confidence and optimism about what we can achieve, has suffered. New Jersey was once renowned for big ideas, and can be again. The public is tired of pessimistic and short-sighted thinking. They have rejected the politics of division, of "us" versus "them", and asked us to focus on "we" -- all nine million who call this great state home …A stronger and fairer New Jersey funds its public schools and delivers on the promise of property tax relief … makes a four-year college more affordable and provides free access to community college … and, creates new training programs to prepare our residents for jobs in an innovation-driven economy. A stronger and fairer New Jersey creates tools for small businesses … and women, veteran, and minority-owned businesses … to thrive instead of delivering massive tax breaks to a handful of select and connected big corporations that don’t need them in the first place. A stronger and fairer New Jersey ensures the wealthiest among us pay their fair share in taxes so working and middle-class families can keep more of their hard earned money. A stronger and fairer New Jersey embraces comprehensive criminal justice reform -- including a process to legalize marijuana -- and focuses on creating housing that is affordable and safe from the danger of lead. A stronger and fairer New Jersey welcomes all who wish to become a part of building our future, and protects our hardworking immigrant families. A stronger and fairer New Jersey accepts the reality of climate change, invests aggressively in renewable energy, and upholds the goals of the Paris Climate Accord. A stronger and fairer New Jersey means that someone has your back. I do. And, for those of you who are debating whether to stay in New Jersey or leave, or perhaps, considering moving here from elsewhere, I commit to you -- many years from now, when you look back, planting your flag in New Jersey will have been one of the smartest decisions you ever made. Standing for the Right Things New Jersey once was a national model for protecting the environment and growing an economy fueled by innovation and ideas. We were fiscally responsible and home to a thriving middle class, yet we ensured that the least among us had programs to help lift them from poverty. We have long had strong firearm laws that have kept guns out of the wrong hands and protected the Second Amendment rights of sportsmen. We can once again be the state that leads the nation in progressive policies and puts common sense and our residents first in line. We can, and will, stand for the right things. We begin by having a Cabinet and leadership team in place that looks like the state we now proudly serve. This was my first promise, and it has been kept. We sought out the very best and talented leaders to carry out our mandate to build a stronger and fairer New Jersey. … We will resist every attempt to define who is, and who is not, a real American, to delegitimize our LGBTQ brothers and sisters, or to divide us based on how we worship. And we must reject President Trump’s dark belief of an America in decline and in carnage. Let there be no doubt: ours is an imperfect, but great, nation. Our exceptionalism derives from our values, articulated as forcefully in our Constitution as in the words written by Emma Lazarus at the base of the Statue of Liberty. ...The current and unrelenting assault on our values will not stand, and we will combat it with every available means. We did not ask for this fight, but it is one that we must -- and we will -- take on … I urge you to join us on the road forward. Whether you are a Democrat or a Republican or an independent. We all share a common destiny. We must undertake a common cause. So now, the page is turned, and the pen is in our hands. Let us, together, write this history. Thank you, may God bless you all, and may God continue to bless the great state of New Jersey and the United States of America.