PASSAIC – Former Ambassador Phil Murphy is a former Goldman Sachs executive. The 2017 run for the Democratic nomination for governor he says he is “strongly considering” will come one year after the presidential election.
In presidential politics, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders is carving a path for himself—and gaining popularity against former Secretary of state Hillary Clinton—by proposing new taxes that would impact Wall Street. That message seems to be resonating with voters as Sanders climbs in the polls.
Because of his Wall Street background and possible gubernatorial future, PolitickerNJ asked Murphy what he thought of Sanders’ candidacy.
“I like him, I have to say I like him,” Murphy said of Sanders. “I do think there is a question about how realistic some of his notions are but I like the guy and I love that fact that he has energized, particularly, the young voters in our party. Having said that, I am Hillary person, all in. My wife and I wake up every day trying to figure out what we can do to help her.”
According to Murphy—though Sanders’ candidacy will have little impact on the role of Wall Street alums in politics—there is reason behind the public’s reaction to Sanders’ campaign.
“Wall Street is an easy target, as it should be,” Murphy said. “I had a conversation with some folks last night talking about decriminalization of what I believe are some very petty crimes that have people locked up. Good luck trying to find a banker who has been locked up. It just doesn’t happen. These banks pay a lot of fines and that drives people crazy. And I don’t blame them. I am not surprised by the vein that he has tapped into.”
Murphy continued: “There is that famous saying: ‘People are mad as hell and not going to take it anymore.’ There is a real disconnect between Main Street and Wall Street and folks don’t like that and they want to see justice.”
While Murphy has yet to decide if he will make his run for governor official, he is currently is touring New Jersey to meet with potential constituent groups. At the Fiesta Night Club on Wednesday, Murphy courted Mexican-American community members and discussed issues critical to them looking to the gubernatorial race.
During his remarks, Murphy touched on issues he believes New Jersey’s next governor needs to tackle in order to “bridge the gap” until “comprehensive immigration reform” is passed in the country. Murphy said that the next governor needs to focus on implementing a state ID card policy for undocumented residents, “complete, unfettered access to drivers licenses” and in-state financial aid for students who are undocumented immigrants. According to Murphy, forums like these help him “get as many good ideas as possible” to “get the state back on its feet economically.”
Murphy is not the only Democrat in New Jersey jockeying for the Democratic bid for governor. Senate President Steve Sweeney, Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop, Senator Ray Lesniak and Assemblyman John Wisniewski (the only elected official in NJ to have endorsed Sanders) have also put their names in the mix.