By Alicia Cook
New Jersey Democratic gubernatorial candidate Phil Murphy held a forum at Bloomfield College on Tuesday, November 1. Murphy officially announced his candidacy last May. The 2017 New Jersey gubernatorial election will take place on November 7, 2017, to elect the Governor of New Jersey.
After taking photos with students and guests, Murphy was introduced by Bloomfield College President Richard A. Levao and Jacqueline Colgan, a member of the College’s Board of Trustees and personal friend of Murphy.
Colgan provided the packed crowd background on Murphy. From his blue collar upbringing to his entry into politics and current platform.
Murphy spent much of his career working in business and finance after earning a bachelor’s degree from Harvard and a graduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania. Murphy was the United States Ambassador to Germany from 2009 to 2013. He has also served as finance chairman for the Democratic National Committee under Howard Dean. Murphy had a 23-year career at Goldman Sachs, including of being in several high-level positions, before retiring in 2003.
Prior to running for governor, Murphy served as chair of New Way for New Jersey.
Murphy enthusiastically took the stage in the Robert V. Van Fossan Theater to speak about this year’s current election, calling it one of the most consequential presidential races in American history.
“Particularly given how stark and challenging the political debate is, the last thing we need to do is turn off the next generation of voters and leaders of this country,” Murphy said, referring to college students. “You have to view your participation as not optional, but pass-fail.”
He encouraged the Bloomfield College community to be knowledgeable of the entire ballot, not just the presidential candidates.
“There are local races. There are two constitutional amendment questions on the ballot in New Jersey,” said Murphy. “There are other reasons to go out and vote. You’re not just going out to vote for the President of the United States; this is a full ballot.”
Murphy placed a strong emphasis on the state of the economy, outlining that in order for there to be considerable improvement, there needs to be innovation, such as science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) development and an investment in the state’s infrastructure.
“I will be the governor who makes decisions that are what’s best for the next generation for the state, not just my next election,” concluded Murphy before entering the crowd to answer thought-provoking questions from Bloomfield College students.
Questions ranged from the hassles of commuting to college with the ongoing roadwork of New Jersey roads and bridges to Murphy’s stance on the Black Lives Matter movement to rising college tuitions and the debt students find themselves in upon graduating.
Murphy’s proposed solution to lessen the burden of debt after graduating is a public bank, owned by taxpayers.
Murphy said his proposed Bank of New Jersey, noting North Dakota’s similar model dating back to 1919, would work "in tandem with community banks," not as a competitor. He said the bank's profits "will be returned to the people of New Jersey as non-tax revenue."
Murphy believes a New Jersey public bank would successfully create new revenue to pay down New Jersey’s debt while simultaneously spurring small business investments with more favorable lending terms, and offer affordable, low interest, borrowing to college students.
Murphy stressed how the college vote can play a major role in the gubernatorial election.
“I appreciate people like Phil Murphy coming to Bloomfield College,” said Salhudine Simmons ’17. “I like that our voices are included in the conversation and heard.”