Stay awake: Choosing our next governor

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Jill Lavender

God help us, 2016 took George Michael, and I swear if it had taken Betty White I would have had a Britney Spears’ style meltdown. Now in 2017 with New Jersey’s Gubernatorial Election quickly approaching, we have the chance to stay awake. So, stay awake. Research candidates, make wise choices, spark conversation with friends and family on both sides of the aisle, and get out and VOTE!

Here are a few quick insights from locals about who gets their vote, and why:

Jill Lavender, 36, F, Ocean County, Therapist 

“I’m voting for Phil Murphy as his political practices continue to help vulnerable populations become more equipped with necessary resources they need in order to become more empowered. In New Jersey, he’s helped lead local charities to support troubled teens, and domestic abuse survivors. Furthermore, Murphy started a program to assist individuals in gaining employment through The New Start Career Network, which provides free, personalized assistance to New Jersey residents, age 45 and over.”

Juan Montoya

Juan Montoya, 27, M, Somerset County, Sales 

“Phil Murphy because of his stance on increasing financial aid, and professional assistance for immigrants and ‘Dreamers’ in NJ. Being a part of the immigrant community makes this an important issue personally. In addition, I agree with his views on increasing the minimum wage in order to help the middle class.”

Andrea DeNunzio

Andrea DeNunzio, 26, F, Bergen County, Information Technology 

“I will be voting for Phil Murphy. He funded his own campaign, wants to legalize marijuana, improve funding for schools, create a single payer health care, and allow transgender people to select their gender on birth and death certificates. This is very important for many transgender people that cannot afford, or do not want expensive surgeries. He wasn’t my first choice, but I believe in him.”

Matthew Maggio

Matthew Maggio, 28, M, Warren County, Engineer 

“I have always been a fan of Kim Guadagno and think she would make a solid choice for Governor of NJ. I like that she wants to reduce taxes, and her plan for how she wants to go about it sounds enticing!”

James Duffy

James Duffy, 20, M, Warren County, Student 

“I supported Assemblyman John Wisniewski during the primaries, largely due to his progressive policies. This was in contrast to Phil Murphy, who, though having a platform I admire, epitomizes ‘pay to play’ politics. To me, someone with more experience in Jersey would have been preferable over an independently wealthy ex-ambassador and executive like Murphy, whose financial resources seemed to guarantee his win. That said, I’ll vote for Murphy on Election Day now that he’s our candidate. Despite my reservations, I think he has a great platform that addresses issues I care about most—recommitting NJ to the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, criminal justice reform, marijuana legalization, and investing in public universities.”