PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — In a prerecorded State of the State address, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said the state will be stronger when it emerges from the effects of COVID-19.
Murphy delivered his third State of the State address not to a joint session of the legislature, as every New Jersey governor in history has done, but to a camera in an empty theater because of the pandemic.
Murphy, a Democrat who is running for a second term, struck an optimistic tone.
“Although deeply wounded, we enter 2021 tougher than ever, wiser than before and ready to move forward together,” he said. “When we emerge from the darkness of the pandemic together, we will be stronger, fairer and more resilient than before.”
Murphy touted his administration’s efforts to curb the first and second waves of COVID-19, and to provide tax incentives and grant programs to help small employers.
“The pandemic has slammed small businesses across America. So our economic focus has been squarely where it should be — on helping our hard hit small businesses and encouraging new ones to grow,” he said.
Calling it an effort to strengthen democracy, the governor said he’s working with the legislature to develop an early voting system in New Jersey.
“Regardless of your party affiliation, your vote is your voice and this country is better off when more of us are heard,” Murphy said.
And even though legislation is stalled that would implement legal adult-use marijuana, Murphy pointed to the decriminalization of weed, saying it would promote the growth of new small businesses.
“We're setting up a cannabis industry that will promote the growth of new small businesses, many of which will be owned by women, minorities and veterans,” he said.