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Former Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for New Jersey Globe)

Ciattarelli slams State of the State as ‘campaign speech’

By Nikita Biryukov, January 12 2021 5:25 pm

GOP gubernatorial candidate Jack Ciattarelli slammed Gov. Phil Murphy’s State of the State address, charging it leaned too heavily on politics.

“This was no state of the state. This was a campaign speech.  Stop insulting us. No, the pandemic isn’t easy, but your failed policies and gross incompetence have only made things worse,” Ciattarelli said before launching an attack over taxes.

Murphy’s address, the third State of the State he’s delivered, was essentially the governor’s first big campaign speech.

Much of it was spent highlighting his administrations accomplishments — things like a $15 minimum wage, a millionaire’s tax and the controversial recently passed $14.5 billion tax incentive programs — but most if it focused on the pandemic, an arena where Ciattarelli said Murphy has failed to deliver.

“Our seniors — thousands of them — were sent to nursing homes and tragically lost their lives; because you let them down,” Ciattarelli said. “And, apparently, the quickest way to get a COVID vaccine is to commit a crime and go to jail.”

As of Monday, 7,619 residents and staff at long-term care centers have died after contracting COVID-19. The administration’s handling of the virus in its nursing and veterans homes has become a favored target for attacks from Republicans.

The state’s vaccine plan prioritizes congregate living facilities — like nursing homes, veterans homes and prisons — where the virus can spread with greater ease.

“Governor Murphy has been in power for three years now. It’s time for us to ask ourselves, are we better off? Democrats have controlled the legislature for over two decades, are we better off?” Ciattarelli said. “If you want a change, you’ve got to make a change.”

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