Grab a cup of coffee. Grab me one, too. Maybe go to Starbucks and buy out the whole store, because the New Jersey governor's election was sleepy. Nothing was going on! I, personally speaking, am always in the loop; however, the whole race was lackluster, if not boring. Both candidates made the usual promises, attacks, and debates. That was about it. Not even the President was batting an eye.
It was that sleepy.
However, he should be scared.
It wasn't just New Jersey that had its election, but Virginia as well, and both states had wins for the Democratic Party. According to traditional presidents, the New Jersey and Virginia elections go the opposite to the party in control of the White House, and although it is heuristically accepted, this election was also about something more:
Proving that the U.S. itself does not want bigotry associated with the presidency.
However, this article is focused on the quieter but contested New Jersey election.
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Phil Murphy, Governor-elect of New Jersey
This is Phil Murphy, former candidate and winner of the New Jersey Governor's election. Growing up, his family was ridden by lower-middle-class poverty in Massachusetts. He took his first job at thirteen, and worked all throughout high school, applied to college, got accepted into Harvard, took numerous loans and part-time jobs, then got his graduate degree from Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. He started out as an intern at Goldman Sachs and worked hard to become one of its top executives. He is a major philanthropist and is open to his financial stability and well-being.
He was a board member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) for many years, and in 2009, became former President Barack Obama's Ambassador to Germany.
He had to defend his twenty-plus years at Goldman Sachs to differentiate himself from former governor Jon Corzine, who was Goldman Sachs' CEO before his running. Unlike Corzine, Murphy ran a mostly progressive platform, talking mostly about the environment, education, and legalization of Marijuana.
The Republican candidate for NJ's Gubernatorial Election, Kim Guadagno
This is Kim Guadagno, the Republican candidate and former Lt. Governor of New Jersey. Before living in New Jersey, she was born in Waterloo, Iowa, and due to her father's occupation, she moved around multiple times before she was even in college. She graduated with a law degree from American University Washington College of Law, she became a federal law clerk in New York City before joining a task force designed to root out organized crime. She was then appointed U.S. Attorney General for the District of New Jersey in Newark. During her years in New Jersey, she was appointed Sheriff of the Monmouth County police.
She had to distance herself a year and a half ago from the toxicity of the Christie administration to even have any chance of running a successful campaign for New Jersey governor. No matter what she did and no matter what her distancing accomplished, she still lives under Christie's beach chair shadow.
Phil Murphy on "The Issues"
Phil Murphy announced many issues that needed to be addressed, but for the sake of the article and the past, I cannot list everything. So, here are the most contested issues:
1. Making New Jersey More Affordable
2. Creating a Public Bank
3. Legalization of Marijuana and Educating Addiction
Kim Guadagno on "The Issues"
Kim Guadagno also announced many issues that needed to be addressed, but, like before, I've listed the most contested issues:
1. Cutting Property Taxes
2. Fixing New Jersey Transit
3. The Opioid Epidemic and Decriminalizing Marijuana
The Issues Explained
Both Murphy and Guadagno had promised to make New Jersey more affordable for the average citizen, Guadagno noting that the fleeing population is unhealthy for the state's representation in the House of Representatives (the member drop of representatives from New Jersey dropped from thirteen to eleven over the past seven years).
Phil Murphy stated that he wants to reallocate funds from Christie's investments in corporate subsidies to help the state fund public schooling, easing the burden of taxes required to keep the school in-line, investing in public colleges, allowing cheaper education, and auditing the six billion dollars spent on New Jersey infrastructure to be more efficient.
Kim Guadagno wants to do similar things to make New Jersey affordable, starting by auditing the spending habits of the government before tackling the spending on schools, the environment, and transportation. In essence, her plan makes sense.
Due to the snake staring at our faces, cutting the subsidies Murphy talks about is a better starting point. Other than that, both candidates have similar, if not mostly congruent plans.
Phil Murphy wants to create a public bank for the state of New Jersey, which would be the second of it's kind in United States History. By auditing spending and finding out how much of the taxpayer's dollar is being spent inefficiently, he plans to allocate a percentage of that to fund and create a public bank, where instead of the financial instability and corruption of Wall Street being in control, the taxpayer is the sole founder and proprietor. By creating a public bank, New Jersey can save the average public university student thousands of dollars a year, allow towns to finance through the state more efficiently, and be able to navigate around Wall Street by focusing funds on more down-to-earth problems such as rebuilding poverty-stricken urban areas and other community development projects.
Kim Guadagno and Phil Murphy both want to fix New Jersey transit, as it used to be one of the best transportation units in the U.S. until Christie dropped the ball. Kim wants to analyze and evaluate the four billion dollars spent on general infrastructure in New Jersey (number taken before August 2017). She also wanted to revisit the idea of commuter tax revenue, which concerns the two hundred thousand commuters who live in New Jersey and work in New York and divert money from tolls to help fund more efficient projects, saving New Jersey citizens' money.
This, by generational standards, is one of the most important topics of this election:
Pot, weed, grass, you name it, marijuana was the green that was on everyone's mind, and as green as it gets, it keeps getting greener. Marijuana effects both public and private sectors of the state's economy, affecting tax revenue coming in, police pension, prison overhauls, and organized crime. It affects environmental detoxification, recycling, and industrial development. This green leaf may be one of the most determining factors of this election.
Many people in Phil Murphy's camp knew that, although this is a minor issue that should be referenced and not dwelled upon, this has become a massive issue.
Many people in Kim Guadagno's camp believed this drug to be malevolent and a gateway to the state's opioid epidemic, which is a justified opinion to make. However, this caused many of the voters to believe that Phil Murphy is the "weed man" who only focused on marijuana and nothing else.
If you didn't believe that, you, as am I, are bipartisan and I congratulate you on looking on both sides before making an opinion, which everyone should.
Marijuana is seen by many as the "miracle plant". Enzymes within the plant can help battle certain cancers. The reeds can be used to make hemp products like clothing, rope, and made into a pulp to make paper. Processed seeds can become healthy alternatives to vegetable and olive oils, and of course, smoking the buds of certain varieties can give you a slow, smooth ride.
Phil Murphy planned on presenting a proposal to legalize the sale and use of recreational marijuana, which is already legal as a medicinal drug. By legalizing marijuana, he estimates that around 300 million dollars will come in from the tax revenue itself in the first year.
Kim Guadagno countered, sticking to her motherly beliefs that it is a problem and it will lead to the opioid problems that plague many institutions in the state of New Jersey. She wanted to decriminalize it, meaning that the taxes on citizens will be leavened due to the lack of population to pay for in public prisons for minor drug offenses.
Marijuana, hilariously and sadly, was the deciding factor in analytics in this election. Many voters couldn't really care or give two horse hooves for its impact on the election, but it had an impact, and it fought with aggression without being talked about more than twice.
Marijuana, analytically speaking, destroyed Kim Guadagno's promise to bring innovation and industry to the state. It destroyed her idea that auditing and reevaluating the means of state income is how to revitalize public sectors in the state. It even affects NJ Transit, albeit to an extent.
Let's put it this way:
By decriminalizing marijuana, as Guadagno promised, you will help lessen the tax burden on New Jersey because you aren't paying for a high prison population anymore. However, by legalizing marijuana, you are both lessening the tax burden and generating income for the state.
And it gets more lucrative from there:
By legalizing marijuana, you are practically forcing "pot pioneers" to flock to New Jersey to experiment on indoor growing, paper substitution, and clothing generation. Which lights are the best? Maybe these lights aren't the best, so we must research and create better lights... Boom. Marijuana helps jump-start the technology industry. No smoking on trains? Well, you still can't smoke marijuana on trains, so here's a fine. Boom. Income from marijuana-related fines that can be injected back into the NJ Transit system, albeit small. No more paying so much on prison populations? Boom. Allocating some money back into police pensions.
You see what I mean? Innovation is the key word. Kim Guadagno wanted to bring innovation to the state and marijuana delivers. Because of how lucrative the marijuana industry is, more will come to the state than just crunching numbers. Small business booms as a result.
Legalizing marijuana takes away power from organized crime and drug cartels, as now people can get their marijuana publicly and legally. It even helps lessen the opioid epidemic, as it becomes a substitute to heroin due to its number and legality as well as its cost against heroin. Marijuana isn't a drug you can get addicted to. It has been scientifically proven by numerous universities and private institutions throughout the country. And due to the product being a substitute and being accessible, less state income can be funded into drug enforcement agencies and reallocated to different places.
So, there is your opioid epidemic. It becomes lessened and manageable.
Literally and hilariously, marijuana is the key component to this past election. No matter how you view it, it will affect everything.
This is a brief and manageable overview of the New Jersey governor's election. It was a sleepy affair, and it will still be contested, but to be honest, no matter what was said and happened, marijuana literally kicked all problems into the famous Jersey Shore.