Though his relationship with Trenton lawmakers has been rocky at times, some legislators think Gov. Phil Murphy is getting better at building connections.
“I think relationship building is about time, and I think the governor is beginning to try and put in some time,” State Sen. Troy Singleton said. “I know there was a widely-reported legislative dinner with legislative leadership that was held at Drumthwacket, which is a great start. Hopefully the governor continues those types of efforts to engage members one-on-one or in small groups.”
Last week, Murphy invited Senate President Steve Sweeney, Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin, Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg, Assembly Majority Leader Lou Greenwald, and budget chairs Assemblywoman Eliana Pintor Marin and State Sen. Paul Sarlo.
But, tensions between the Governor and legislative leaders remain high. Sweeney jabbed the governor more than once over the past few weeks. In January, he challenged Murphy to a debate on how to fix the state’s mentions last month and attacked him over his veto of an emergency aid bill last week.
But, Sweeney told the New Jersey Globe Thursday that he thought Murphy was doing enough to build up his relationships with the legislature.
“In any workspace, the greater opportunity that we have to talk, to argue, to passionately have a conversation about things we are committed to is key,” State Sen. Teresa Ruiz said. “So, the more we can do that, the better it is.”