Hart supports Murphy’s public bank, hopes to see Jersey City branch

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Assembly candidate Kristen Zadroga Hart (D-31) is voicing her support for Democratic gubernatorial frontrunner Phil Murphy’s public bank, noting that she hopes to see a North Jersey branch in Jersey City.

Assembly candidate Kristen Zadroga Hart (D-31) takes a picture with Democratic gubernatorial frontrunner Phil Murphy at a St. Patrick's Day event in Jersey City last month. Facebook photo.
Assembly candidate Kristen Zadroga Hart (D-31) takes a picture with Democratic gubernatorial frontrunner Phil Murphy at a St. Patrick’s Day event in Jersey City last month. Facebook photo.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

“For too long, Jersey City and Bayonne residents have been ignored by the financial system, whether they be college-bound students, recent graduates looking to refinance, women-owned businesses, businesses owned by people of color, or small businesses with big ideas that just can’t keep up,” Hart said in a statement.

“A public bank would operate as a strictly independent entity and it will work in tandem with our community banks and credit unions – serving as a partner not a competitor.”

“With Jersey City set to be the largest city in the State of New Jersey, a North Jersey branch could be established in the 31st legislative district. Thousands of residents throughout the district stand to benefit from a public bank right in the heart of the Jersey City/Bayonne border.”

The concept of a state public bank has been one of the hallmarks of Murphy’s campaign, so it should come as no surprise that is has been a consistent speaking point at his Town Hall events.

At an appearance in North Bergen early this year, Murphy explained that this idea would allow small infrastructure and business loans to become the norm.

“Matt [Platkin, the head of policy for the Murphy campaign] found a bank last year: average daily cash balance from New Jersey – a billion three,” Murphy said at the time.

“That bank made three loans through the small business administration program, back into New Jersey last year for a total of $220,000,” Murphy recalled.

“Again, you don’t have to be a math major: a billion three, $220,000. Here’s the idea: take all those deposits and bring ‘em back and put ‘em in a bank we own – the people’s bank of New Jersey.”

North Dakota is the only state in the country that runs a public bank, which was established nearly a century ago – in 1919 to be precise.

As Hudson County View first reported, Hart is running off the line with Bayonne Board of Education Trustee Christopher Munoz against incumbents Angela McKnight and Nick Chiaravalloti in the June 6 Democratic primary.

Meanwhile, Murphy’s most notable challengers in the primary are Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D-19) and state Senator Ray Lesniak (D-20), but the former U.S. Ambassador to Germany is the odds on favorite to move on to the general election.

A spokesman for the Murphy campaign did not return requests for comment.