First Sikh nominated to be New Jersey attorney general

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TRENTON -

Gov.-elect Phil Murphy has nominated acting Bergen County Prosecutor Gurbir Grewal to be New Jersey's next attorney general.

If confirmed, Grewal would be New Jersey's first Sikh to serve in that position.

“I wanted to give back to a country that has given us and other immigrant families like us, so much,” Grewal said during a news conference Tuesday.

Grewal's nomination comes after Murphy, a Democrat, said that his administration would pursue every "available means" to push back against Republican President Donald Trump's proposed tax changes, including a lawsuit.

“States will have never mattered more. Governors will have never mattered more. And attorneys general will have never mattered more,” Murphy said.

Murphy said that he was looking for an attorney general who would fight the Trump administration on a wide range of issues, including immigration, voting rights and gun laws.

Attorney general is one of New Jersey’s most powerful positions. The attorney general oversees legal cases involving everything from cybersecurity to civil rights.

Grewal referenced his three daughters while addressing the historic nature of his nomination.

“As someone who has experienced hate and intolerance firsthand throughout my life, I wanted to work to ensure that we all live in a fair and just society and that [my daughters] grow up in a fair and just society,” he said.

Grewal was appointed as acting prosecutor by Republican Gov. Chris Christie in 2016.

“Gurbir's intellect and experience is what attracted me to him and what led me to fight entrenched interests to make him Bergen County prosecutor. I am sure it is those same qualities that attracted [Gov.-elect Murphy] to him as well,” Christie said in a statement.

Grewal is a former assistant United States attorney in the criminal division in the District of New Jersey. He has also served as a prosecutor in the Eastern District of New York.

The New Jersey state Senate will now hold hearings to confirm Grewal’s nomination. Those hearings are expected to take place in the new year.

The Associated Press wire services contributed to this report.

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