By ELIZABETH WHITE
(TEANECK) – After eight years with Governor Chris Christie, New Jersey will be electing a new governor on Nov. 7.
Democratic nominee Phil Murphy is a former U.S ambassador to Germany, and Republican nominee Kim Guadagno served as lieutenant governor in Christie’s administration.
Here’s where each candidate stands on the major issues.
1. The economy
Murphy is looking to empower middle class workers in New Jersey in order to grow the state’s economy. Murphy wants to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour, guarantee sick leave statewide, ensure equal pay for equal work and create caregiver and child care tax credit, according to his website.
Guadagno believes that growing New jersey businesses starts with cutting taxes. Guadagno promises to “continue to stand up for New Jersey taxpayers by vetoing any knee-jerk tax increase proposal passed by the legislature to pay for unnecessary spending,” according to her website.
2. Gun control
Murphy supports gun control laws that “can prevent gun violence while still preserving Second Amendment rights for law- abiding residents,” according to his website. This includes signing common sense legislation that Governor Christie vetoed, keeping guns away from those who are mentally ill, mandating gun safety training and many more initiatives to control gun violence.
Guadagno doesn’t think that any additional gun laws are needed in New Jersey.
“I believe because New Jersey has among the strictest gun laws in the country, we should enforce the ones we have on the books,” Guadagno said, according to nj.com.
Murphy wants to make college affordable for all New Jerseyans. His plan includes increasing state aid to students attending four year and community colleges, providing loan forgiveness to STEM graduates and helping residents stuck with student loans “by offering state- based refinancing at lower rates through a new public bank,” according to Murphy’s website.
Guadagno wants the Garden State to focus on STEM careers and twenty first century jobs.
“We should institute computer coding, for example, in every classroom, starting with kindergarten,” according to an interview she did with New Jersey Business.
She is also a big proponent of vocational schools and giving students a skill they can use upon graduating, according to Guadagno’s website, as referenced in New Jersey Business.
Murphy wants to reform healthcare at the state level by lowering insurance premiums, “restoring state funding to Planned Parenthood and ensuring that all-FDA approved methods of contraception remain accessible to New Jersey women with no out- of-pocket costs” and more, according to his website.
Guadagno does not support government-run healthcare, but she does believe that the Affordable Care Act can’t be taken away from those who use it and need it.
“We need to find a way to provide coverage for those who we promised it to, and allow the coverage of preexisting conditions and make it affordable,” Guadagno said to New Jersey Business in an interview.
5. The environment
Murphy wants to create a State Energy Master Plan “that will set New Jersey on a path to 100 percent clean energy by 2050,” according to his website. He also has plans to prioritize solar energy expansion, ban fracking, create “green” jobs and many more environmentally- friendly initiatives.
Guadagno wants to make investments to increase energy efficiency and add solar and o shore wind power into the current energy policy. Her goal is an “80 percent reduction in greenhouse-gas emissions by 2050,” according to NJ Spotlight.
New Jersey’s gubernatorial race has largely been overshadowed by both the presidential campaign in 2016 and the political unrest at the federal level.
“Everyone is exhausted from (the 2016 presidential election) and its aftermath,” John Weingart, associate director of the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers University, said. “It’s taken up a lot of oxygen and attention from this race,” according to the Press of Atlantic City.
“Some experts say the races will be the first major electoral litmus test for how America is responding to President Donald Trump,” according to nj.com.