Experts: Murphy should reach out to former governors for advice

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NEW BRUNSWICK -

Gov.-elect Phil Murphy is just starting his transition into office and political experts say that he should reach out to New Jersey’s former governors for advice.

Political scientists say that now is also the time for Murphy to give off a sense of confidence and competence, which will help others want to support his policy plans.

“Get a lay of the land, understand what it is that’s going on, try to get as much information as you can before you start making a lot of promises,” says Kris Shields of Rutgers University’s Eagleton Center on the American Governor.

Shields is the co-author of the Eagleton Center report called "Recommendations on Gubernatorial Transitions."

Shields says that Murphy should learn how the governor’s office runs before making promises to cut it down. He say that this is especially important since Murphy has never held an elected office.

Murphy’s first moves since winning the election include appointing Lt. Gov.-elect Sheila Oliver as head of the Department of Community Affairs and meeting with Gov. Chris Christie.

Shields says that maintaining a good relationship with Christie is crucial to Murphy’s success.

“It can, at times, naturally be a somewhat tense relationship. Especially when you have a party change like we do this year,” Shields says. “But certainly the better they can get along and work together the better off the state will be.”

Shields also says that Murphy should reach out to Senate President Steve Sweeney. Sweeney will hold the power to passing Murphy’s proposed legislations, such as legalizing marijuana. Shields says that he will need the state Legislature to turn his campaign platform into policy.

Murphy will be sworn in as New Jersey’s 56th governor on Jan. 16.

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