Governor-elect Phil Murphy did not look far in his choice to fill a major cabinet position.
“I greatly admire her intellect, her skill and her good humor,” Murphy said. “Assemblywoman Elizabeth Maher Muoio, of Pennington, New Jersey, to serve as the next treasurer of the great state of New Jersey,” he announced.
Muoio is from Pennington, a few miles north of the state capital. She spoke of the common thread connecting all of New Jersey.
“Our municipalities and their residents need relief. They need to know that taxes can be brought under control. That their infrastructure is sound. That they can count on a quality education for their children,” she said.
Muoio serves on the Assembly Budget Committee, experience Murphy calls invaluable as the new administration awaits the potential impact of federal tax reform and decides how to address funding public pension systems, among other fiscal challenges.
“She’s used her position to ask the hard questions of the current administration and advocate for those who most need the support of state government,” Murphy said.
“We know that this is not a situation that was created overnight, nor one that can be laid at the feet of any particular person or group. We all share in the responsibility and we all must be part of the resolution,” Muoio said.
The governor-elect seems to be aware of the optics of this appointment and the makeup of his transition team, saying that if the state Senate confirms Muoio, she would only be the second woman confirmed as state treasurer.
“Liz will be another step, an important step, in making sure that we have a cabinet that doesn’t just the best and brightest, but that looks like our state,” Murphy said.
The Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers Eagleton Institute is watching and weighing Murphy’s inclusion of women in the new administration.
“We are pleased to say that it looks like Governor-elect Murphy is off to a strong start. He’s made three cabinet level appointments. Two of the three are women and two of the three are people of color so we are optimistic,” said Debbie Walsh, executive director for the Center for American Women and Politics.
Like Democrats all over, the governor-elect was all smiles as he congratulated Doug Jones for winning Alabama’s special election for Senate hoping it sends a message.
“Not just in Alabama, but around the country, it gives some courage to some Republicans, maybe even in this state,” Murphy said.
Murphy’s getting plenty of that and praise, from the state Chamber of Commerce to the NJEA, on his choice for state treasurer.