New Poll in NJ Gov Race; Facebook committed to platform integrity; NJ Wind Port; Engineers Fall Conference; TJ Mann joins NorthStar

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Murphy up 13 in Monmouth poll

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A Monmouth University poll released this week shows New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy maintaining a double-digit lead over Republican challenger Jack Ciattarelli.  Murphy leads in the race by 13 points, 51%-38%.  Murphy’s lead is slightly down from last month but the pollster attributes this to increased support from Republicans and not a shift in independent voters.

Murphy receives good grades for his administration’s handling of the COVID pandemic.   The incumbent also edges out Ciattarelli on jobs and the economy.  Voters favor the challenger on the issue of taxes.  Half of the New Jersey electorate still has no opinion of Ciattarelli which could present a serious challenge with six weeks to go until Election Day.

New Jersey has one million more registered Democrats than Republicans.  Murphy is seeking to be the first Democrat re-elected governor of New Jersey since Brendan Byrne in 1977.

Facebook discusses commitment to platform integrity

Facebook this week released a Newsroom post about the progress it has made in addressing important issues like protecting people’s privacy, tackling harmful and illicit content, and combating election interference – as well as how it is building products with integrity measures from the start.

According to the post, Facebook:

  • Now has 40,000 people working on safety and security, up from 35,000 in 2019 and a four-fold increase from 10,000 in 2016. Facebook has invested more than $13 billion in teams and technology since 2016 in this area;
  • Has helped more than 2 billion people find credible COVID-19 information through its COVID-19 Information Center and News Feed pop-ups;
  • Now uses artificial intelligence to block billions of fake accounts at creation; and
  • Embeds teams focusing specifically on safety and security issues directly into product development teams, allowing it to address these issues during the product development process, not after it.

There’s more in the post about Facebook’s efforts to combat misinformation, along with ways the social media giant is strengthening how it protects people’s privacy, and more.

Facebook also announced the launch of a new company microsite to help show how it has tackled these key challenges over the last several years as it looks to the future of the internet — as well as an infographic showing the changes made and an updated timeline of public announcements regarding integrity since 2016.

NJ Wind Port breaks ground

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New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, United States Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh, New Jersey Senate President Steve Sweeney and a bevy of officials and stakeholders held a groundbreaking ceremony earlier this month on the New Jersey Wind Port in Salem County.

The $350 million project will help solidify New Jersey’s standing as the epicenter for offshore wind development in the United States.  The project itself will be a staging ground for the assembly and transport of 900-foot structures needed for each wind turbine.

The port facility will directly support Orsted’s Ocean Wind I project which includes nearly 100 giant wind turbines to be installed 15 miles off the coast of Ocean City in Cape May County and will generate 1,100 megawatts of clean energy once operational.  Orsted’s Ocean Wind II and Atlantic Shores projects will combine with Ocean Wind I to provide 2,658 megawatts of clean renewable energy by 2029.

Global infrastructure consulting firm AECOM Tishman was named construction manager for the New Jersey Wind Port in July.  AECOM Tishman will perform both pre-construction and construction services to execute on the NJEDA’s proposed design.

ACECNJ Fall Conference success

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The American Council of Engineering Companies of New Jersey (ACECNJ) held its 2021 Fall Conference in person at the Tropicana Hotel Resort & Casino in Atlantic City earlier this month.

The conference, one of ACECNJ’s signature events of the year, included exciting keynote speakers, technical and policy presentations, networking opportunities, and some special guests.

Highlights included:

  • New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Shawn LaTourette offering keynote remarks in support of the Murphy Administration’s  bold regulatory reform effort intended to make our natural and built environment more resilient to the impacts of climate change;
  • Congressman Donald Norcross, Camden County Commissioner Jeff Nash and Camden Community Partnership CEO Kris Kolluri joining ACECNJ President Joe Fiordaliso for a panel discussion focused on recent and planned investments in South Jersey that will have a transformative impact on the region;
  • Chief engineers of six transportation agencies discussing key initiatives and priorities with Assembly Transportation & Independent Authorities Committee Chairman Dan Benson.

ACECNJ’s leadership implemented numerous measures to safeguard public health which gave conference attendees peace of mind.

Led by Joe Fiordaliso, who is in his eleventh year as President of ACECNJ, the entire NorthStar Strategies team supported the successful planning and execution of this important event.

TJ Mann joins NorthStar Strategies

NorthStar Strategies has announced the hiring of Thomas (TJ) Mann.  TJ joins the firm as Director of Government Affairs following a distinguished ten year tenure as Chief of Staff to Assemblyman Robert D. Clifton.  Mann came to the New Jersey General Assembly in 2012 following Clifton’s election.  He was responsible for start-up of the new Assemblyman’s District Office, hiring of staff, and development of policies and procedures to ensure effective and efficient constituents services to the 235,000 citizens of New Jersey’s 12th Legislative District.  

TJ also served as the Assemblyman’s staff lead in the General Assembly, refining his public policy expertise through work on high profile legislative committees including Budget; Transportation & Independent Authorities; and Infrastructure & Natural Resources.  TJ possesses an expert understanding of municipal and county government processes and has built strong  relationships with officials throughout New Jersey and specifically in the Burlington, Middlesex, Monmouth and Ocean county communities that comprise the 12th Legislative District. 

NorthStar Co-founder & CEO Joe Fiordaliso praised Mann’s appointment, saying, “TJ is a fantastic addition to the firm.”  He continued, “TJ will provide our clients with a high level of government expertise and political insight and help them navigate any challenge.”

NorthStar Co-founder & COO Jody Herkloz stated, “TJ is a person of integrity, an extremely hard worker, and a total team player whose values align perfectly with the mission and vision Joe and I developed when we established NorthStar Strategies five years ago.”

Mann will lead NorthStar’s Government Affairs practice.  He will immediately join the client team for prominent NorthStar clients and expand the breadth and depth of services that NorthStar offers.  TJ will also leverage a vast network of relationships to grow the firm’s Government Affairs practice.