Democratic gubernatorial nominee Phil Murphy discussed a multitude of issues including healthcare, the Deferred Action Childhood Arrivals program, rebuilding the economy as he targeted President Donald Trump and Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno at a Jersey City Town Hall.
In front of a crowd of about 200, Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop, Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto (D-32), Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise and state Senator Sandra Cunningham (D-31) welcomed Democratic gubernatorial nominee Phil Murphy for a Town Hall event.
Fulop, who endorsed Murphy for governor on the steps of City Hall about a year ago, said that the biggest mistake that could be made in this election is being complacent and assuming victory is assured for Murphy.
“The biggest risk that we have though is complacency. It’s the fact that everybody thinks after this June primary ‘but of course the Democrats are gonna win” and we don’t need to work as hard over the next couple months,” Fulop said.
“And nothing could be further from the truth than that statement.”
Prieto added that he felt Murphy will â€œmake the quality of life for every resident in New Jersey better.â€
After the long introduction, the former U.S. Ambassador to Germany came out firing against President Donald Trump, wondering how he would react to the diverse crowd if he walked into the room.
“If Donald Trump were to walk in this room and look around, I’d say ‘Mr. President, this is the United States of America!,” he said to loud applause.
During his public remarks, Murphy emphasized building â€œa stronger, fairer economy,â€ with a focus on the innovation and infrastructure economy.
“I believe that if we refire those two economies, no county in this state will benefit more than Hudson County, it’s almost guaranteed,” stated Murphy.
He also took several shots against his Republican opponent, Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, including blaming her and Gov. Chris Christie for cutting the state funding for NJ Transit by 90 percent, also noting that fares are up 36 percent and that a number of unqualified administrator were hired.
Guadagno campaign spokesman Ricky Diaz didn’t respond to any of the criticisms directly, indicating that Murphy was deflecting from his massive tax hike plan.
“Goldman Sachs Millionaire Phil Murphy is desperately trying to change the subject away from his plan to raise taxes by more than $1.3 billion if elected, so he’s resorting to these false, negative and shameless attacks,” Diaz told Hudson County View in an email.
“Only Kim Guadagno will make New Jersey more affordable for everyone — no matter their race, background or sexual orientation.”
The gubernatorial frontrunner again put Trump in his crosshairs when indicating he would not allow the president to deport anyone impacted by the repeal of the Deferred Action Childhood Arrivals program.
“When the president says DREAMers have six months left in America, we will stand up and say ‘not in New Jersey, Mr. President,'” exclaimed Murphy.
Additionally, Murphy spoke about implementing a number of other policy initiatives such as a $15 an hour minimum wage, earned sick leave, child and dependent care tax credit, college affordability, equal pay for equal work and “comprehensive criminal justice reform.â€
During the question and answer session with the audience, Edward French, an ESL teacher at Hudson County Community College, asked how Murphy planned on protecting refugees and immigrants.
“On our list are things like statewide identification cards for everybody, access to driver’s licenses – regardless of status – DREAMers to have access to in-state financial aid, not just in-state tuition,” began Murphy, who once again jabbed at the “evilness” of Trump for going after this population.
Reading a question from an attendee who left early, Murphy also explained how he would handle a scenario where Trumpcare was approved by Congress.
“800,000 people in this state have healthcare, and many for the first time, because of the Affordable Care Act. Three-and-a-half million people in this state have pre-existing conditions, who otherwise wouldn’t have insurance,” explained Murphy, who admitted Obamacare wasn’t perfect.
“Tens of thousands of kids are on their parents program ’til their 26. Women have access to contraception, seniors to life saving drugs, it’s employed double digit thousands of people. So job Number 1 is to defend it. Secondly and finally, the objective is healthcare is a right, not a privilege.”
Furthermore, Murphy committed to making New Jersey a sanctuary state if elected governor.
Other dignitaries in attendance included Bayonne Mayor Jimmy Davis, Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer, Prospect Park Mayor Mohamed Khairullah, Assemblywoman Angela McKnight, Assemblyman Nick Chiaravalloti (both D-31), Jersey City Council members Rolando Lavarro, Chris Gadsden, Daniel Rivera, Jermaine Robinson and Joyce Watterman, Jersey City Democratic Committee Chair Barbara McCann Stamato, Freeholders Kenny Kopacz (D-1), Bill O’Dea (D-2), E. Junior Maldonado (D-4) and Anthony Romano (D-5), Jersey City Board of Education Trustee Lorenzo Richardson, Democratic Freeholder nominee Jerry Walker, former Gov. Jim McGreevey (D), former JCDO Chair Shawn “Sully” Thomas Sullivan, among many, many others.