Murphy Announces AG, Treasurer picks

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Gurbir Grewal & Liz Muoio

One would become the nation’s first Sikh-American Attorney General. The other would become only the second female Treasurer in New Jersey history. Governor-elect Phil Murphy made history this week when he announced Gurbir Grewal and Liz Muoio as his picks for AG and Treasurer. With both announcements, Murphy proclaimed his commitment to forming a cabinet that reflects New Jersey’s diversity.

Grewal for AG

On Tuesday, Governor-elect Murphy announced his pick for Attorney General. Gurbir Grewal currently serves as Bergen County Prosecutor. He would become the nation’s first Sikh-American AG.

Grewal, who was sworn in as Bergen County prosecutor last year and is a Chris Christie appointee, is New Jersey’s first Sikh and first South Asian county prosecutor. He previously served as an assistant US Attorney under Paul Fishman.

Grewal is highly regarded and Murphy’s announcement was quickly praised by Democrats and Republicans alike.

Look for Bergen County power brokers to move quickly to fill Grewal’s seat as prosecutor, possibly with a member of the State Legislature’s Bergen delegation.

Muoio for Treasurer

On Wednesday, Murphy announced that Mercer County Assemblywoman Liz Muoio would be his pick for Treasurer.  Muoio represents the 15th District – which includes parts of Hunterdon and Mercer Counties in Central Jersey – and sits on the Assembly Budget Committee. She is a former borough councilwoman and county Freeholder. She also served as Mercer County’s Director of Economic Development. If confirmed by the Senate, Muoio would become only the second female Treasurer in New Jersey history.

Democrats were quick to praise the pick but Republicans, including Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean, Jr. and Republican State Committee Chairman Doug Steinhardt, questioned whether Muoio has the chops to solve New Jersey’s $35 billion FY2018 budget, one that forecasters project starts at least $1.8 billion in the hole. Somewhat ironic criticism, considering that New Jersey has the second-lowest credit rating in the nation and has been downgraded 11 times during Chris Christie’s eight years as governor. Look for Republicans to give Muoio a chilly reception during her confirmation hearing.

Muoio would vacate her 15th District Assembly seat, and the jockeying to replace her has already begun with a dozen names being floated as possible replacements. Given the under-representation of women in New Jersey’s Legislature and the fact that we’re about to lose several more, we hope that this seat – held by Congresswoman Bonnie Watson-Coleman before Muoio – continues to be held by a woman.