Murphy announces Tahesha Way as secretary of state

BY Briana Vannozzi, Senior Correspondent |

By selecting Tahesha Way, Phil Murphy adds another Democrat to his cabinet. Way is a former administrative law judge and Passaic County freeholder.

“It is my honor today to announce our nomination of Tahesha Way, of Wayne, New Jersey, to be our next secretary of state,” said the governor-elect.

Way currently serves as the special counsel for Passaic County’s Board of Social Services. She’s being tasked with ensuring the integrity of New Jersey’s voting process — a mandate from the Murphy administration to expand and modernize the system, at a time, he says, needs it.

“We will ask her to stand up for the rights of New Jersey voters, against the pressures from President Trump’s voter suppression panel and others who want to restrict access to the ballot box,” said Murphy.

Way has a degree from Brown University and attended law school at the University of Virginia. Her family was in tow for the announcement, including husband, former New York Giants running back, Charles Way. If confirmed, she’ll oversee the Department of State, which covers New Jersey’s $44 billion tourism industry, not to mention cultural heritage and history. But, bolstering the state’s election procedures will be billed top priority.

“I look forward to working with the governor-elect to make democracy real for all residents of New Jersey, through maintaining and strengthening voting rights and common ground efforts to modernize the voting process,” said Way.

“We are one of the few states that gave our voter data. I don’t know how many states, Matt, gave them to the Kobach commission. This is a lunatic from Kansas, I use a diplomatic phrase, ‘lunatic,’ who is trying to carry out Trump’s agenda that there were millions of fraudulent votes cast last year,” said Murphy.

The reference is to former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach. Murphy cited early in-person voting, automatic registration and allowing ex-offenders to vote as some of the goals for Way. He took just a few brief questions following Monday’s announcement.

RELATED: Report: African-Americans in NJ most impacted by law preventing felons from voting

On the GOP tax overhaul, Murphy commented, “It’s awful. We haven’t given up fighting. We have to keep pressing that all five Republican members of our House delegation vote the right way. We’ve had four up until now, we hope we have five.”

That fifth representative, Tom MacArthur, is reportedly holding out. Murphy dismissed a question about a recent photo-flap posing with a cardboard cutout of Gov. Chris Christie’s infamous beach shot.

“Let us not lose our sense of humor in the great state of New Jersey,” said Murphy.

This is now the fourth cabinet nomination announced by the Murphy administration. The governor-elect said you can expect an even busier week with nominations ahead.