BRICK – Governor-Elect Phil Murphy made a quick stop in Brick on New Year’s Day to stay just long enough to administer the oath of office to Mayor John G. Ducey and Council members Marianna Pontoriero and Paul Mummolo.
He asked if he could make a few comments before the swearing-in ceremony.
“The real reason I’m here today is because I won 36 percent of the vote in Brick, and John [Ducey] won 65 percent, so I’m down here trying to figure out a few lessons and figure what the heck went on,” joked the energetic Murphy, who wore sneakers with his suit.
“This is a community that I’ve really enjoyed coming to, and you all have been incredibly gracious having me here at every turn,” he said.
Murphy gave a particular shout out to the veterans and to the members of law enforcement who attended the Organizational Meeting.
He said he had two points he wanted to make in his comments.
“Number one, we’re a lot stronger if we get there together, and it will last longer, and so notwithstanding that we’ve all got our great partisan passions, the fact of the matter is this is the time for the state to close ranks and work together,” said Murphy in his unscripted remarks.
Murphy said smart governing supersedes partisan politics to best serve the constituents of New Jersey.
“That’s another reason why I love coming here, because this is a community that really works well – where the partisan piece is checked at the door, folks come into this chamber and they try to do the right things by their citizens,” said the Governor-Elect.
The second point Murphy said he wanted to convey was, despite problems such as high property taxes, veterans who are not getting the care they need, “anti-immigrant stuff, all of the things you feel like we’ll never be able to deal with…we too infrequently step back to say this is a great state, this is a great country,” he said to applause.
Murphy said that the US is still “The Beacon on the Hill,” and that New Jersey epitomizes America by being the most diverse state in the union.
“My guess is, we’ll never be the low-cost, cheap place to be,” he said, “but it’s worth it because you get a lot back in New Jersey. You get great public schools, great public transportation, diversity, communities millennials want to live in, and a shore that’s second-to-none.”
Murphy recalled a recent phone conversation he had with the governor of California when he said he wanted New Jersey to be the California of the east coast.
“And someone said to me, ‘Murphy, you have to got to get more attitude, you should’ve said California, you’ll be lucky if you’re the New Jersey of the west coast,’” he said.
He thanked Mayor Ducey and the governing body for the honor of swearing them into office.
“God Bless you all and God Bless New Jersey,” said Murphy, who said he had to leave to attend another event.