TRENTON, N.J. — Phil Murphy is now New Jersey’s 56th governor.
He took his oath of office on the Fitzgerald family bible, the same bible that John F. Kennedy placed his hand on in 1961 when he was sworn in as President of the United States.
“It is an American truth summed up so succinctly by President John Fitzgerald Kennedy -- whose family Bible I had the honor of placing my hand upon moments ago -- that as Americans, we do things 'not because they are easy, but because they are hard,'" said Governor Murphy, quoting Kennedy.
Murphy vowed to deliver a ‘stronger and fairer’ New Jersey for all nine million residents who call the state home. His cabinet is filled with firsts. The first Sikh American Attorney General in the nation's history. The first Muslim American cabinet official in state history. And the first Lieutenant Governor of color. Sheila Oliver received a standing ovation.
The Murphy administration is wasting no time. Within three hours of being sworn in, he called a press conference to sign his first executive order.
“Here and now we begin the process of bulldozing the roadblocks that have kept women from being paid fairly,” said Gov. Murphy. He gave the pen from his first executive to a resident named Dina Hansen, who worked for 16 years in the private sector before finding out that she was being vastly underpaid in comparison to her male colleagues.
The order seeks to combat such inequalities by prohibiting state entities from inquiring about a job applicant’s current or prior salaries.
Studies have indicated that women in New Jersey are paid 82 cents for every dollar paid to men holding comparable jobs.
“Today, New Jersey takes the first meaningful step towards gender equity and fighting the gender pay gap,” Murphy said.
Murphy is also urging legislators to quickly get a bill to his desk that would raise the state’s minimum wage to $15 per hour. He also wants to quickly sign off on paid sick leave for workers; a bill to affirm state support for Planned Parenthood; he wants a bill to strengthen gun laws and one that will remove barriers to voting.
"And, I promise you now that they will be met with a signing ceremony instead of a veto pen,” he said to a cheering crowd of hundreds at the Trenton War Memorial.
Murphy will make his first budget address to the state legislature in the coming weeks. He said he’ll go into more detail on his policies then.