Somebody for governor

Local politics has been a constant source of both amusement and frustration to me, but I’m mostly just surprised that anyone cares about my opinion at all. This is a densely populated area, after all, and I’m just one person out of very, very many. Is voter turnout so bad now that politicians now chase down every single last actual voter to try and convince them to turn out for their cause?

It sometimes kind of feels that way. For example, just the other day I tweeted:


That’s a not-too-veiled reference to the leading Democratic contender for NJ governor. That race is a long way away, and Murphy pretty much has it in the bag. It wasn’t too much that I thought about – I was on to tweeting about my impending trip to the dentist five minutes later.

But then I got this:


Dan seems nice. It was thoughtful of him to reach out. I genuinely appreciated it, as much as it surprised me. I mean, I never @’ed his campaign or named the candidate, or mentioned the words “governor” or “New Jersey” so it’s not like it showed up in a search, so it did seem a bit intense. Intense, but still nice. He gave me his email address and that evening I wrote out some of my questions and concerns about his candidate:

Hi Daniel,

First off, thank you so much for reaching out via twitter. I genuinely appreciate your willingness to answer some questions regarding Phil Murphy’s run.
I have many questions, but I’ll keep this as brief as possible and narrow them down to three:
1. How does Mr. Murphy’s previous work experience prepare him for the job as governor? Coming from a background at Goldman Sachs and having been an ambassador – those are certainly impressive achievements, but how, specifically, do they qualify him for this particular job?
2.  What are his plans for improving public transportation both within the state and to NYC?
3. I’ve been in NJ for many years, and as far back as I can remember, every candidate for governor has always – regardless of party/timing/etc – run on the idea of lower taxes and cleaning up corruption in Trenton. Over and over, through the course of at least 30+ years that I’ve been here, those same issues have been campaigned on with an eye to the idea that they are the “winning” issues. What new, innovative ideas does your candidate have? They need not refer to taxes/corruption specifically – I’m just asking what distinguishes him from prior candidates. Certainly lowering taxes and ending corruption are important, but I’m also eager to see NJ embrace an agenda bigger than simply winning the next election.
Thanks so much for your time. I look forward to reading your reply.

Look, I was on my best behavior because I genuinely wanted dialog. Part of me was screaming: post-economic meltdown, post-Occupy, post-Corzine, post-Trump as PEOTUS, in one of the most liberal states around, what on earth are the Democrats doing rallying behind a Goldman Sachs exec? Also, what does an Ambassador to a very friendly nation actually do (no seriously though)? The other two questions are super important too, but I’m still really stuck on question #1.

Couple of days later, i’m still waiting for a reply.


Still nothing. I was kind of hoping that after the big snowstorm today, Team Murphy would find themselves home with nothing better to do than answer my email, but oh well. I was never expecting a reply from my initial tweet, so it’s not like my hopes are totally tied up in this.

If I get anything, I’ll update this post.

Jan 10th – UPDATE!!!! He wrote back!!!!!

For the most part, the response was along the lines of “here are some links for you to look at and come to your own conclusions.” Which is fair. A little less than I was hoping for after the build up of all this, but fair.

I’m working my way through the links he sent (trust me, there’s a lot), but one that caught my eye was this one: mostly because of the source – Occupy, as in Occupy Wall Street. Since one of my concerns about Murphy was his association with Goldman Sachs, this got me interested.

The article reads a bit like an over-the-top press release for the Murphy campaign (for example: “Murphy, a former Goldman Sachs executive, has jumped from the predatory ship and joined the ranks of the robbed and maltreated. Like Robin Hood, he’s a rogue nobleman, but unlike Robin Hood, who merely redistributed wealth….[etc etc].)” That’s downright nauseating, and really called into question the worth of the rest of the article.

Which is a shame, because the underlying premise – that Murphy is calling for a public bank in NJ – sounds really interesting. I’m going to be very, very honest and say that I don’t totally understand this idea – not at a comfort level where I feel as though I have enough information or expertise to really have a firm opinion about it. I’m not a finance person at all, and that is a world I absolutely don’t get. But for the first time, a candidate claiming Wall Street experience actually has a reason why and a specific example how that experience might be used for the common good – and I find that refreshing. (This is versus the usual strategy of “I made a lot of money on Wall Street and that means I’m a good businessman so vote for me because I know how to make money” – which, I don’t get how that’s a convincing argument at all.)

So, I have a lot more reading and research to do. In closing, I’m encouraged by their desire to engage me, and also by this “big idea” of a public bank. The election is a long way away, so plenty of time to look into this more. But they’ve gotten my attention.