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Assemblyman Jamel Holley. Photo by Kevin Sanders for the New Jersey Globe

Holley says Murphy ignored lead crisis

Assemblyman the second black lawmaker to criticize Murphy in recent days

By Nikita Biryukov, October 10 2019 2:32 pm

Assemblyman Jamel Holley said Gov. Phil Murphy’s been asleep at the wheel on the state’s waterborne lead crisis.

The Assembly Democrat took aim at Murphy’s handling of Newark’s water crisis, saying the governor slow-played action on the issue despite promising to focus on it during his 2017 gubernatorial campaign.

Holley cited a list of recommendations the legislature sent Murphy in early 2018. Most of those recommendations went nowhere, and some were implemented with a fraction of the resources the joint legislative committee sought.

For instance, the committee recommended issuing a $400 million bond to address the state’s lead water service lines. Only a quarter of that amount was issued, and it came as part of a separate $500 million bond.

Holley’s criticisms of Murphy come days after State Sen. Ron Rice, chair of the Legislative Black Caucus, claimed Murphy and legislative leaders patronized black officials and activists.

Rice accused the governor, Senate President Steve Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin of slow-playing issues like marijuana decriminalization.

Holley was one of the legislature’s biggest advocates for marijuana legalization.

“No wonder Senator Ron Rice, the longest-serving African-American state senator in New Jersey history called out Governor Murphy for not listening to the plight of minority communities across the state,” Holly said. “It’s time for the Governor to act. Too many innocent lives are impacted.”

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