‘If I Were Governor…’ Part II


Last week PolitickerNJ asked a dozen politicos to imagine their fist priority if they became governor. It was a fun and revealing exercise that got a lot of feedback. So we reached out to another dozen (or so) of the brightest lights in New Jersey’s political constellation and asked the following question: “What would you do first if you woke up tomorrow and you the were Governor of New Jersey?”

Assemblywoman Valerie Huttle (D-Bergen)
“First, I’d sign all my bills that Chris Christie vetoed. Then I’d sign the Port Authority Reform bill and gun safety legislation in light of the latest college shooting. We need an end to gun violence. Next, I’d put a mental- and behavioral clinic on every corner. Finally, I’d make the developmental disability program more patient-centered. And that’s just my first 100 days!”

Senator Diane Allen, (R-Burlington)
“I would work to create a strong financial foundation for New Jersey. This is only made possible through controlling spending at all levels of government and reducing taxes and costs that overburden the middle class, limit economic growth and push employers and jobs out of the state. Addressing New Jersey’s high costs will spur innovation and allow employers to grow and expand, creating the firm financial foundation that is needed in order to address the pensions system and transportation trust fund.”

Assemblywoman Caroline Casagrande (R-Monmouth)
“My first bill I’d like to sign as Governor is a corporate- and small business tax credit for childcare expenditures. It’s pro-buisnss and pro-family. The $8,000 yearly tax credit might mean less money to Trenton in the short-term, but it’s a great macroeconomic policy that will grow the GDP long-term by keeping people in the workplace. We talk about this all the time, but women are 53% of the entering workforce yet occupy only 19% of corporate C-Suites. So who’s got the political will to get this done?”

County Clerk Celeste Riley (D-Cumberland)
“If I were Governor, I’d invest in physical and workforce infrastructure. I’d improve and increase access to New York City and Philadelphia. I’d also work to increase education equality and opportunity to all our citizens. New Jersey does public education right, but we’re failing to lead in higher education which attracts businesses and employers. I’d invest in higher ed to compete in this global economy. Also, New Jersey would thrive it if took every advantage of its agricultural and historical assets. Lastly, I would keep my word, no matter how difficult or painful that might be — this is what a true New Jerseyan does.”
Assemblywoman Alison McHose (R-Morris, Sussex, Warren)
“If I were governor of New Jersey, I would eliminate income tax agreements with New York City and Pennsylvania (the ones where your income tax goes to New York and Pennsylvania when you work there but live here.) The second thing I’d do is throw away the education formula and start all over again so we don’t pay as much in property taxes.”

Assemblywoman Annette Quijano (D-Union)
“If I were the Governor, I would would lower the burden on working families living in the New Jersey. I would increase the minimum wages, lower taxes on smaller businesses, offer incentives to businesses that allow sick leave for employees, ensure that public workers got their pensions, and focus on creating good paying jobs here.”

Mayor Cathleen Lewis, (Lawrence)
“As Governor, I’d identify a sustainable, dedicated funding source for the transportation trust fund and call for a constitutional dedication of any new revenue. I’d establish a blue ribbon panel to identify infrastructure savings and opportunities for the state to invest in new infrastructure projects that will better prepare us for future need. We need to build for growth in order to make New Jersey more attractive for residents and businesses alike.”

Mayor WIlda Diaz, (D-Perth Amboy)
“I would focus my energy on restoring the financial credibility of the state so we can grow the economy and create jobs. I have done it in Perth Amboy and it would be my priority.”

Assemblywoman Pam Lampitt, (D-Camden, Burlington)
“New Jersey has many programs for its people, but we are terrible in giving CLEAR communications to access them. We leave too much money on the table as it pertains to matching federal dollars which ends up costing us money in the long run. But at the end of the day it’s all about property taxes.”

Jeannine LaRue, venerable Democratic Operative
“The first thing I would do as Governor is add balance to the world of government: balance in judicial appointments, contracts/procurement, and appointments to major boards, commissions and authorities.”

Arlene Quinones Perez, Hunterdon County Democratic Committee chair

“I would focus my energy on job creation and inclusiveness so that all communities in New Jersey feel they are getting a fair share of resources and opportunities in the state.”
Jennifer Holdsworth, Political Director New Jersey State Democratic Committee
“1) Make the pension payment! 2) Fund the millions cut from women’s healthcare services and 3) implement expanded background checks for gun and ammunition purchases.”

Grace Strom Power, co-chair, New Jersey Democratic Committee women’s caucus
“My number one priority as Governor would be to immediately enact strong but sensible gun control policies, whether through executive order or through the legislature.”

Deirdre Woodbyrne, GOP strategist, Bergen County
“I’d host an economic summit to explore options of shared services between towns and municipalities.”

Kelly Stewart Maer, PAC chair, Women’s Political Caucus of NJ and PAM’s List

“I’d raise the gas tax and dedicate it to fund NJ’s Transportation Trust Fund.”

Jay Lassiter is New Jersey’s original state house blogger. Follow him on Twitter @Jay_Lass.
‘If I Were Governor…’ Part II