POLITICS & GOVERNMENT

Murphy names attorney general pick, makes history in the process

BY David Cruz, Senior Correspondent |

In just over a month as governor-elect, Phil Murphy has shown two things: he is going to take his time doing what he thinks he needs to do to get ready to take office, and he’s big on having his team reflect the state’s diversity. It is against that backdrop that Murphy announced his pick for attorney general, Gurbir Grewal.

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“Upon his confirmation, he would be the first South Asian attorney general in our state’s history and the first Sikh-American to serve as a state attorney general in the history of the United States of America,” noted Murphy.

The historic relevance of the nomination was not lost on Grewal, who was accompanied by his wife and three daughters, to whom he spoke from the podium.

“As someone who has experienced hate and intolerance firsthand throughout my life, I wanted to work to ensure that we all live in, and that the three of you grow up in, a fair and just society. And last, I wanted each of you to know that there are simply no limitations on your success if you work hard,” said the nominee.

Grewal, a registered Democrat, is currently the Bergen County prosecutor appointed by Chris Christie, and a former assistant U.S. attorney under Paul Fishman. While assistant U.S. attorney, he led the Economic Crimes Unit and oversaw the investigation of major white collar and cyber crimes, priorities, says Murphy, of his administration along with protections for immigrants, “Dreamers”, the LGBT community and the poor.

“As the governor-elect mentioned, I wanted to give back,” said Grewal. “I wanted to give back to a country that has given us and other immigrant families like us so much. And, in the process, I wanted to perhaps show people that while I and others like me may look different or worship differently, that we, too, are committed to this country.”

Another thing the governor-elect has shown is a remarkable ability to be not be strayed from the subject at hand, like Tuesday, when reporters tried to get him to talk some more about the Trump tax plan.

“I believe we’ve traveled afield from our intended meeting Tuesday, but I hate every bit of it,” he chuckled. “Thank you all so much for coming out.”

With words of praise coming from most legislative leaders, Grewal’s nomination seems secure. But January is still a few weeks away and, as Murphy said again Tuesday, this is New Jersey, we come into this with our eyes open.