Today is Election Day! It is when every American can go to the voting booth and decide upon the future of his or her town, county, state and country. As Indian-Americans, we are linked to the two greatest democracies in the world: India and America. As such, we should lead by example and happily vote in each election.
In New Jersey, Mr. Phil Murphy is the Democratic nominee to succeed Mr. Chris Christie as governor. While Mr. Phil Murphy might not yet be a household name, he exemplifies the traditional virtues valued by Indian-Americans – education, hard-work, self-reliance, financial astuteness, devotion to family, and compassion for the less fortunate.
Mr. Phil Murphy was born to a lower middle-class family and worked part-time jobs since the age of 13. Influenced by his mother’s strong emphasis on education, he studied diligently and attended Harvard University and then The Wharton School. After graduation, he worked for more than 23 years at Goldman Sachs where he spent several years in Germany and Hong Kong. After retirement in 2006, Mr. Murphy became involved in various civic organizations and philanthropic pursuits, including the NAACP, domestic abuse support groups, national education taskforce, and the US Soccer Foundation. Mr. Murphy also worked diligently for the DNC as a financial chair under Chair Howard Dean. Later, Mr. Murphy served as United States Ambassador to Germany under President Barack Obama from 2009–2013. Since then, he has founded New Start New Jersey, a non-profit progressive policy think tank. Murphy and his wife, Tammy, have four children and live in Monmouth County.
While Mr. Murphy might not be Indian-American, we can easily use him as an example for our children. When young, he studied hard. As an adult, he worked diligently and supported his family. After making his wealth, he has dedicated himself to charitable works and public service. It is an honorable life path and one worthy of respect. Moreover, his life experience has allowed him to look at issues with clear eyes without pre-judgment and to think of how best to help all New Jerseyans, not just the special interest groups or elite. In fact, many of his positions are probably to his own financial detriment.
Mr. Murphy’s platform has traditional Democratic and progressive positions as well as detailed solutions to specific NJ problems. You can read in detail about his platform on www.murphy4nj.com/issues. Some of his most attractive positions include:
· investment in higher education through direct investment and lower interest student loans
· commitment to STEM in NJ economy and schools
· fixing NJ pension fund system to reduced unfunded liability
· investment in NJ Transit
· sensible gun-control
· opt-in retirement plan for small business employees
· commitment to family health care including earned sick leave and new child care and
· divesting pension funds from hedge fund and private equity funds
· creating a public bank to invest in NJ businesses, so that NJ money is put to work for NJ, not for Wall Street
· restoring funding for family planning clinics, mostly run by Planned Parenthood
· pro-immigrant position including protection of the Dreamers
· legalization of marijuana (which would reduce inequity and burden on courts while also creating tax revenue)
Mr. Phil Murphy is an ideal candidate because his idealism and compassion are tempered with judgement and practical financial experience. Like many Indian-Americans, he knows the value of education generally and STEM in particular. He feels compassion towards immigrant children such as the Dreamers and also understands the value of immigration to our economy and society. He has pledged to protect our schools, temples, theaters, and public spaces from gun violence. He is committed to ensuring health care, especially for our elderly and our children. Finally, he understands that each of us is striving to achieve the American Dream. Mr. Murphy is ready, able and willing to help us achieve our dreams – we must do our part and vote for him today.
Author Nazish Agha, Esq is a Senior Partner at Agha & Agha, LLP