Gov. Phil Murphy today ordered flags to fly at half-staff for two week to honor the life of former Gov. James Florio. Florio died on Sunday at age 85.
“Governor Florio’s legacy of service will be defined by his devotion to bettering the lives of New Jerseyans and standing up for what is right,” Murphy said. “Governor Florio first ran for public office in 1969 and continued on a long career of public service, dedicating his life to representing New Jerseyans as an Assemblyman, a U.S. Congressman, and Governor.”
Florio began his career as an assistant Camden City Solicitor and won a Camden County-based seat in the State Assembly in 1969. He unseated four-term Rep. John Hunt (R-Pitman) in the 1974 Watergate landslide and was elected governor in 1989 on his third try.
“I had the great privilege to know Governor Florio and have always been appreciative of his advice and counsel,’ said Murphy. “Our hearts are both heavy and filled with gratitude as we remember his distinguished career and his lasting impact on the state of New Jersey.”
Under Murphy’s executive order, U.S. and New Jersey flags will be lowered at sunrise on September 27 and remain until sunset on October 11.
Murphy has renewed a tradition of flying flags at half-staff for two weeks in tribute to former governors of New Jersey.
Gov. Christine Todd Whitman did that when William Cahill died in 1996 and Florio ordered flags lowered following the death of Richard Hughes in 1992 and Robert Meyner in 1990.
But following the death of Brendan Byrne in 2018, Gov. Chris Christie ordered flags lowered for just one day in tribute to the former two-term governor.
Byrne ordered flags flown at half-staff in honor of Alfred Driscoll when two-term Republican died in 1975, but he did not attend the funeral because Driscoll’s family asked him to stay away.
Driscoll had been serving as chairman of the New Jersey Turnpike Authority when Byrne became governor in 1974 and the two engaged in a public feud over Byrne’s opposition to a $360 million plan that would have linked the turnpike to the Garden State Parkway on a 36-mile stretch between Toms River and South Brunswick to be called the Alfred E. Driscoll Expressway. The state approved the project in 1971 but Byrne killed it after he took office.
As a result of the disagreement, Byrne had not renominated Driscoll to his seat on the authority.
Meyner still ordered the flags lowered following the death of Harold Hoffman in 1954, even though the former Republican governor had written a deathbed confession that admitted to embezzling more than $300,000 from the state from his post-gubernatorial job as director o the state Unemployment Compensation Commission.