BY EDGAR ENRIQUEZ —
Gubernatorial candidates Phil Murphy (D) and Kim Guadagno (R) laid out two different visions for the future in an attempt to resonate with voters at a sold out debate Wednesday at Shea Center for the Performing Arts at William Paterson University
The candidate’s exchanges included discussions on property tax, public transportation, congestion pricing, becoming a sanctuary state, the legalization of marijuana, and the funding of public and higher education.
According to Murphy, the former ambassador to Germany under President Barack Obama, it is time to embrace change and priorities in which seniors are respected, the middle-class is celebrated and invested in along with the dreams of those aspiring to get into the middle class. Public education, infrastructure and Planned Parenthood will be funded in his administration, he said. In addition, sensible gun safety laws will be signed, climate change will be focused on, and real tax relief will be delivered for the middle class.
“I come from being inspired by people like John Kennedy, Bobby Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Cesar Chavez, and Barack Obama,” said Murphy. “If that’s your vision, I need you. I need your vote on Nov. 7.”
Outside the Shea Center for Performing Arts, people rallied in support of, or opposition to, both candidates. Supporters of Murphy repeatedly shouted, “Murphy’s what we want,” while supporters of Guadagno yelled, “Murphy wants your money.”
According to Guadagno, the lieutenant governor of the state, the answer for folks wondering whether they should vote on Nov. 7 is clear.
“Phil Murphy will raise your taxes; I will lower them,” Guadagno said.
Khizar Siddiqui, a student at WPU, noted that the student debt is above $1 trillion in America, thus making it much more difficult to pursue higher education. Siddiqui asked both candidates whether they would support free college programs for bachelor’s degrees and if so, their method of paying for it.
“We stand for free community college,” said Murphy. “We love the idea of a public bank that we all as citizens own and one of the lines of business is reasonable student loans.”
According to Guadagno, a bank handing out loans to students is “beyond fantasy.” She deems Murphy’s view of a public bank as, “the wacky bank of America.”
“My opponent is saying whether you can afford it or not, you get a free college education.” Guadagno said. “You know who’s gonna pay for it? Everyone in New Jersey is gonna pay for it, Phil Murphy is going to raise your taxes and I won’t.”
According to Guadagno, the most important problem facing the people of the state is the need for property tax relief.
“I have a plan to fix property tax in New Jersey, Phil Murphy does not,” Guadagno said.
According to Murphy, funding schools fully is property tax relief.
Before the debate, many of Guadagno’s supporters repetitively exclaimed, “no sanctuary state” from outside the Shea Center of Performing Arts.
According to Murphy, politics should not be put ahead of public safety; when people feel safe to engage with law enforcement, communities are much safer.
“Our dreamers, our immigrant families, we need to make sure they realize they’re welcome in the state,” Murphy said.
New Jersey could risk losing millions of dollars of federal aid if the state were to become a sanctuary state.
“As a governor, you have an obligation to do everything that you can to keep the people that you serve safe,” Guadagno said. “Making New Jersey a sanctuary state is one way I can think of to make New Jersey less safe.”
Photo on lead page taken by Edgar Enriquez.