New Jersey politics come to campus


New Jersey Assembly Member Raj Mukherji Credit: Isabella Cuan, Isabella Cuan

I encourage everyone to get involved in the political process. Just reminding Republicans that voting day is always Wednesday, ¨ Democrat MP Raj Mukherji said at a campus event Monday. Mukherji represents New Jersey’s 33rd District, the most densely populated and ethnically diverse district in the state.

Mukherji founded a software company in sixth year, which he chaired until he joined the Marine Corps at the age of 17, days after 9/11. He returned to New Jersey to fund what has become the state’s third-largest lobbying firm, and for a prestigious career in public service that included a stint as Deputy Mayor of Jersey City.

Mukherji’s comments were often accentuated by the audience’s lively laughter. He began by asking all members of the public for their names and hometowns.

Sara Lee, Indiana.¨

I really love your cakes.

“You three must be the Indian people of Orlando, Florida,” Mukherji told a group of men sitting in a section of the South Asian Student Association at Penn after they told him their hometowns.

The conversation quickly shifted to Mukherji’s support for controversial Governor and presidential hopeful Chris Christie. “My running mate and I were the only Democratic lawmakers to support Christie, and I did so because of her remarkable performance during her first term, ”Mukherji said. “But I am not prepared to support it at the national level.” Mukherji has denied having inside information about the Christie Bridge scandal and said he would not predict the repercussions of the scandal on Christie’s political career.

Mukherji said his most significant achievement was to secure paid vacation standards that apply to all private employers in New Jersey. The bill gave all employees one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours of work.

“I think families shouldn’t have to choose between economic stability and being cared for,” he said.

As a businessman and representative of an urban district, Mukherji says he is close to business interests. “Despite the folklore around [Paid Time Off], the bill will benefit state enterprises, not their burden, by replacing an ineffective patchwork of similar and stricter local regulations, ”he said.

Mukherji said he is currently pushing for the legalization of sports betting in the state, which will provide a much needed boost to its lagging gaming industry. “Casinos currently bring in $ 1 billion in taxes, a substantial part of the state budget of $ 30 billion or $ 40 billion, but their business is being undermined by neighboring states. ”

The Assembly member advised those interested in public service to “never let the perfect be the enemy of the good”. Bills are fleshed out and improved through the political process of give-and-take, he said. Government, Mukaherji concluded, is the art of compromise.

Clarification: This article has been updated to reflect that the The bill on paid holidays mentioned in the tenth paragraph has not yet been adopted. This article has also been updated to clarify that Mukaherji and his running mates were the only Democrats in Congress to back Chris Christie.

Correction: Mukherji was deputy mayor of Jersey City, not deputy governor. The Indiana viewer was Sara Lee, not Lucy Lee. The DP regrets the mistakes.

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