A good-sized crowd turned out to hear Gov. Phil Murphy on Wednesday. New Jersey, he said, is on the move.
“The changes we have made are already having an impact on people’s lives. We’re fixing problems, from revamping a broken mass transit system, to beginning the task of fully funding our public schools,” Murphy said.
The environment, the state’s finances, Murphy laid out maybe 30 policy areas in which he has enacted change.
“What we have done in the past 100 days has set the table for what we can do over the course of the next, you ready, 1,365 days,” Murphy said.
That’s one term, not two, for those who are counting.
Guns, women’s health, tech jobs, Amazon — it was a catalog of his executive orders and policy shifts. Murphy said he inherited a state that was falling behind.
“Stark challenges remain. I’m not hear today to spike any footballs. We cannot and we will not be able to reverse the decline of the past eight years in just three short months, but that is why we started aggressive and why we will stay aggressive,” he said.
Minimum wage, pay equity, the list kept going. And he put in a plug for his tax plan.
“We know the people of New Jersey are with us. We know that they support ensuring that millionaires pay their fair share,” Murphy said.
It was all upbeat. Before it started, on every seat in the house, sat a fact sheet on 100-day accomplishments. The diversity of his cabinet was another point of pride. Expanded voting rights, the list of liberal catchphrases kept coming, some old, some new.
“We are dedicated to a simple, obvious, but important truth; economic progress cannot be made without social progress, and social progress cannot be achieved without economic progress,” Murphy said.
How successful has he been so far?
“I think if you’re one of the core liberal constituency groups in New Jersey, you would think he has been wildly successful. The things that he’s done so far have been making good on those promises he made about basically making New Jersey a liberal laboratory,” said Monmouth University Polling Institute Director Patrick Murray.
“I think it’s a wonderful contrast with what’s going on in Washington. I think both from the organization of it and the civility of it, it’s a great indicator of how government should be,” said Eagleton Institute of Politics Associate Director John Weingart.
This was a sweeping address, like an inaugural or a State of the State. Murphy is clearly proud of his first hundred days. Unspoken was that the next hundred will have a lot to say about his overall success.