Phil Murphy

Key Facts

Party Democrat
Status Incumbent

Background

Phil Murphy graduated from Harvard University with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics in 1979, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School in 1983, earning an M.B.A. Murphy spent 23 years working at Goldman Sachs, and after leaving the firm, became the National Finance Chair of the Democratic National Committee. Murphy would serve as the United States Ambassador to Germany under the Obama Administration from 2009 to 2013, after which, launching New Start New Jersey with his wife in 2014, a nonprofit progressive think tank. In 2017, he was elected Governor of New Jersey, serving since. Murphy was born and raised in Needham, MA, where his family lived paycheck-to-paycheck. He is the father of four children, who have been educated at Rumson Country Day School, Phillips Academy, and The Peddie School.

Key Issues

Housing/Homelessness

Phil Murphy has made affordable housing a major issue in his re-election campaign. During the COVID-19 pandemic, he approved a series of bills preventing foreclosures and keeping renters in their homes. He also re-established an affordable housing trust fund shut down by Governor Christie. Ciattarelli has outlined few specific plans on affordable housing, though cites property tax cuts as making it easier to own and afford a home in the state of New Jersey.

Environmental Reform/Climate Change

Governor Murphy has called climate change the single greatest long-term threat facing humanity, and has taken steps such as establishing a climate council and dedicating 100M to the electrification of public technology to mitigate its impact. Murphy has also pledged to be 100% climate friendly by 2050. His opponent, Jack Ciattarelli, has not outlined specific environmental policies, but has pledged to advance green energy, safe drinking water, and clean oceans and waterways.

Criminal Justice

Governor Murphy has championed criminal justice reform during his tenure, signing a bill to legalize Marijuana, expanding franchise to those on parole and probation, ending mandatory minimums, and abolishing solitary confinement. In the wake of police shootings across the nation, he has called for the Attorney General to independently investigate any reports of officer misconduct. Jack Ciattarelli has made supporting law enforcement a centerpiece of his campaign, opposing efforts to defund police, end qualified immunity, create civilian review boards, or cut police and fire pensions. Despite this, he has called for the expansion of “community policing” and recruiting more women and minorities to the police force, as well as increased cultural competency training.

Taxes

Phil Murphy’s budgets have frequently increased taxes on the wealthy and businesses. On property taxes, Murphy’s administration has provided relief for veterans and the elderly. Jack Ciattarelli has campaigned vigorously on the promise of delivering tax relief to New Jersey citizens, hitting Murphy for his relative inaction on the issue. Ciattarelli plans to freeze all property taxes for residents at age 65 and cut property taxes by redistributing state schooling aid more equitably. He also supports tax cuts across all incomes and exempting certain monetary assets, such as retirement plans and student loans, from taxation.

Education

Governor Murphy removed the virtual option for education during COVID-19 for the 2021-22 school year and has called for a full return to school with mask mandates. Ciattarelli supports in-person, full time instruction but opposes the Governor’s mask mandate. Phil Murphy famously signed a law in 2019 that mandates the inclusion of LGBTQ+ curriculum in middle and high school health classes. Jack Ciattarelli has supported the repeal of this law, arguing that the state ought not to be teaching “sodomy” to children as young as 10. On more general education topics, Governor Murphy has filed “desegregation” lawsuits in order to increase school diversity and has pledged to expand Pre-K services. His opponent, Jack Ciattarelli, has pledged to cut funding to “overfunded” school districts and redistribute the money to schools that are in need of more funds.

Endorsements

College Democrats of New Jersey, New Jersey Education Association, Working Families Party

Sources

On the Issues
Murphy 4 NJ
The Inquirer
NBC New York
New Jersey Globe