POLITICS & GOVERNMENT

State leaders celebrate at inaugural ball

BY Briana Vannozzi, Correspondent |

The dance moves were slightly more subdued, but the energy was just as high as Gov. Phil Murphy and First Lady Tammy Snyder Murphy graced the crowd with a first dance. They were surrounded by Democratic supporters hoping to snap a quick selfie and archive this moment in history.

“Thank you not just for today, but for all the days, both in our past and most importantly, in our future,” said the governor.

It had all the makings of a grand New Jersey inaugural ball draped under a tent on the field at MetLife Stadium field, with drinks flowing and the stylings of the Midtown Men keeping the crowd moving.

“The message is very simple to me and the message is he’s fighting for New Jersey,” said Tom Bracken, president and CEO of the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce.

There were no celebrity appearances, as some had hoped. The crowd included mostly lobbyists and lawmakers rubbing elbows and talking shop.

“I think the Democratic Party is in great standing. As you saw in the resounding election, we have the largest majority in the Assembly since 1978. I believe that speaks volumes. New Jersey is a blue state and it’s becoming navy blue,” said Assemblyman Vincent Prieto.

When asked what’s on her agenda and what she would like to see the governor put forward in the first 100 days, Sen. Nia Gill replied, “I’d like to see the bill I worked on for years, early voting. I’d also like to talk about health care and where we are because of Trump.”

Murphy’s agenda comes with a price tag: Few, if any, venture to guess how he will pay for a fully funded pension or free community college without a tab on taxpayers.

“I think he’s going to take a stance that will be most fair to workers, police, firefighters, and public workers and taxpayers. Remember the key thing here is to fully fund public education. Remember if he can fully fund education, that will reduce taxes for people in towns like Montclair and elsewhere,” said former mayor of Montclair, Bob Russo.

You can imagine talking taxes and funding formulas at a party isn’t exactly a hit, especially with tickets at $500 a pop. So Tuesday, they let him celebrate.

“Today was pretty emotional for our family, and I’m proud of our first executive order. There’s a big crowd here tonight and we’re really happy about that,” said Murphy.

The Democratic Party faithful have crowned Phil Murphy its king, promising a new era, a blue wave sweeping through New Jersey. The Murphy team says it will hit the ground running.