Democrat Phil Murphy announced plans Monday to unseat Gov. Chris Christie in a election that could be very beneficial to $15 minimum wage supporters.
Murphy was an ambassador to Germany and former Goldman Sachs executive. His progressive platform includes raising the statewide minimum wage to $15 an hour and imposing higher gasoline taxes. He announced his campaign early, with the 2018 election still a whole 18 months away.
“Folks are screaming out for adult leadership, leadership that they can trust, leadership that has their back,” Murphy told North Jersey Media Group. “They feel like everybody’s part of somebody’s system or operation. And, by the way, if they were so good, why aren’t we in a better place right now as a state? And Chris Christie’s at the top of that list.”
Murphy’s main focus is to strengthen the economy by improving the middle class. His plans to raise gasoline taxes, for instance, could put people to work by helping to raise revenue for new state projects. He hopes his plan to raise the minimum will help improve income level in the state.
“We’ve encountered enormous enthusiasm, enormous frustrations, frankly, on things like minimum wage, equal pay, college affordability, women’s health, guns, lead,” Murphy continued.“When you see that as I’m seeing it every single day, day in and day out, it comes back to a question of leadership.”
Christie was able to improve the state economy with more conservative-orientated polices like cutting state pension funds. During his time as governor he saw unemployment decrease throughout the state from 9.8 percent in 2010 to 4.4 percent in March, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Murphy, however, argues the improvements have not been enough.
“Is it better than it was? I hope so, because it was pretty bad. But it’s not nearly as good as it could be,” Murphy noted. “We can have a really strong, thriving middle-class-first economy in this state that’s probably more often than not built on the back of STEM – science, tech, engineering and math.”
New Jersey Democratic Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto introduced legislation Feb. 4 aimed at increasing the statewide minimum wage to $15 an hour. Supporters of raising the minimum wage say the policy could help address poverty while critics warn it could force businesses to cutback on their workforce or raise prices to overcome the added cost of labor.
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office found both positive and negative results from increasing the minimum wage. It found any increase in the minimum wage could result in at least some job loss. The University of California, Berkeley found in a recent study that having less people in poverty outweighs the potential job loss.
Murphy had an eye on becoming governor well before his early announcement. He started New Start New Jersey in 2014 which come believed was the unofficial start to his campaign, NJ Advance Media reported at the time. The group’s aim was improve the state economy by strengthening the middle class. He couldn’t start fundraising until he officially announced his run.
Christie did not respond to a request for comment by The Daily Caller News Foundation.
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