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Gov. Phil Murphy says he hasn’t read a letter from State Sen. Ronald L. Rice (D-Newark) excoriating him for being patronizing toward African American elected officials and political leaders, but said that his record on social justice issues is one of the best in the nation.
“I know he sent me a letter. I will tell you now I haven’t read it. I will do that today,” Murphy said at an unrelated announcement in Bergenfield. “I have enormous respect for Senator Rice. We have done a lot together.”
Rice, the longest-serving black legislator in New Jersey history, accused the governor of taking black and brown voters for granted.
“I would vehemently disagree,” said Murphy, pointing to his efforts to curb opioid abuse, promote gun safety, increase expungements, and the state’s independent prosecutor law.
“I would say with great respect the list is as long in the area as criminal and social justice as any state in America over the past 24 months,” said Murphy. “Is it perfect? Do we still have a road to travel? You bet. But I’ll put our record up against anybody’s.”
Murphy promised to meet with Rice, which was one of the requests the chairman of the Legislative Black Caucus made in his letter.