Guadagno, Murphy face off in 1st gubernatorial debate

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NEWARK -

New Jersey’s two main contenders to replace Gov. Chris Christie participated in the campaign’s first gubernatorial debate Tuesday evening in Newark.

Republican Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno and Democrat Phil Murphy answered questions on a variety of topics pertaining to issues in New Jersey and the nation. The candidates disagreed on many of the issues presented.

Guadagno said that fully funding state pensions requires billions of dollars that the state can't afford. She said that she would be open to negotiations with unions about the pension fund.

Murphy said that he plans to fully fund the pension system and that he has a plan to fund it. But he refused to give details when asked.

“We have a very, very credible plan to…rapidly fully fund the pensions,” Murphy said.

On the issue of property taxes, Guadagno said that she has a plan to cap school taxes on a homeowners' property bill. She accused Murphy of not having any plan.

“Phil Murphy has no plan for lowering property taxes. Phil Murphy has said in the past that in order to lower property taxes people need to make more money,” Guadagno said during the debate.

Regarding immigration, Murphy said that he is in favor of making New Jersey a sanctuary state to protect undocumented immigrants from deportation. 

“We will stand up to this president if need be. We’ll be a sanctuary, not just city, but state,” Murphy said.

Guadagno said that she does not support making New Jersey a sanctuary state and says that she will follow the law when it comes to undocumented immigrants.

Murphy says that he is in favor of legalizing marijuana for recreational use in New Jersey.

Guadagno slammed the idea. “There's a very less intrusive way to fix the social justice problem than legalizing drug dealers,” she said.

The second debate will be held next week at William Paterson University.

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