‘If I Were Governor…’


As Governor Christie continues his presidential campaign and the field begins to take shape for his eventual successor, New Jersey is in dire financial shape and a raft of legislation is waiting for his signature. PolitickerNJ asked insiders what their first priority would be if they were in Christie’s shoes.

Assemblyman Benjie Wimberly (D-35)

“Schools would be number one. Number two would be meaningful gun control. The 22 bills that were introduced but not signed into law, particularly mental health issues. We have a major issue, a gap when it comes to the availability of guns to people with mental health issues. It’s 2015, Children shouldn’t be living in the 19th century when it comes to school buildings.”


AnthonyRomanoHobokenJune9,2015Hudson County Freeholder Anthony Romano 

“What’s happening with the pensions is a travesty. Again I’m biased as a police captain, but to take away the COLA of those retired people who retired many years ago and the fact that the state had borrowed from our pension fund, that’s our money. That infuriates me.”


mappPlainfield Mayor Adrian Mapp

“I think that the state needs to, number one, fix the Transportation Trust Fund because so much is riding on that in terms of our infrasturcture, so that would be job number one, fixing the Transportation Trust Fund. Job number two would be making sure that our pension system, our pension fund, is at the level that it needs to be in order to provide for the people who have stayed in the system and who have an expectation that they will be able to enjoy a retirement without having to worry about whether or not the funding will not be there.”

BobGordonJune24,2015Senator Bob Gordon (D-38)

“Certainly, I would sit down with the stakeholders and try to address the problem of our unfunded pension liability and our fiscal problems. It all has to be done simultaneously, we need to reduce the cost of doing business and the cost of living in New Jersey. If we don’t do something about that, the state does not have much of a future.”

Passaic County Freeholder Bruce James

“The solution was for the legislature to pay in, and apparently they haven’t since Whitman to a great extent. Other than that, the Transportation Trust Fund absolutely needs a solution. You know, people are going to be on crumbling roads if we don’t do something about it. I have enough on my plate helping to run a county. God help the people in the state, and I hope they find solutions.”

DeclanO'ScanlonAssemblyman Declan O’Scanlon (R-13)

“Pension benefits reform. But second and related is the TTF. Pension benefits reform is one of the most critical issues that we’ve faced in the capitol in fifteen years. It’s big. That would need to happen.”





HollySchepisi1Assemblywoman Holly Schepisi (R-39)

“The fiscal health of New Jersey, finding a way to financially stabilizing the state. I believe that we need to come up with a means of properly funding our current pension obligations while implementing reforms for new employees. We need to address our current healthcare benefits for new employees.”


Screen Shot 2015-10-08 at 9.59.19 AMSomerset County Freeholder Brian Levine 

“I would continue and expand the work of the Red Tape Review Commission, on which I am proud to serve, created by the Governor and chaired by the Lt. Gov., where we have already streamlined government and  saved businesses and NJ millions of dollars. Businesses have to know they can work with our State easily, efficiently, and profitably; this creates jobs and prosperity.  I would also push the concept down to the local level, so that permitting is still safe, yet quick and easy, so that commerce expands and our reputation increases.”

Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 4.52.59 PMSomerset County Democratic Chair Peg Schaeffer

“I’d implement a gas tax. I’d make some changes on the supreme court.”







Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 4.54.45 PM

Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg (D-37)

“The gas tax, fixing the Transportation Trust Fund and reinstating women’s health funding.”






Cape May County Republican Chair Mike Donohue

“I’d probably want to start with jobs. I think that the best bet is to incentivize job growth through entrepreneurialism, which would mean it gives incentives to entrepreneurs to actually start new businesses in New Jersey. There’s no silver bullet, it’s like whack-a-mole.”

Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 5.05.37 PMSenator Bob Smith (D-17)

“The transportation trust fund. People are gonna get killed. It’s that bad. Because of the crumbling infrastructure, traffic safety improvements that are not being made. If I was the governor tomorrow I would call a special session int he legislature, and nobody would go home until we found a way to fund it.”


Gov. Chris Christie Addresses The Fort Lee George Washington Bridge ScandalAssemblyman John Wisniewski (D-19)

“My first priority would be to agree to work with the legislature and agree on a long-term funding mechanism for the transportation trust fund. New Jersey’s economy is inextricably tied to transportation.”






Senator Jim Whelan (D-2)

“Overall tax structure. I think that one thing we have to look at the TTF and deal with that, we’ve got to raise the gas tax. I think we’ve got to look at the so-called ‘death taxes.’ I wouldn’t necessarily link them the way some are suggesting, but I would build those. One of the problems is inequities in the way money flows back from Trenton.”

‘If I Were Governor…’