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Diegnan: Leadership feud not a big deal

By Nikita Biryukov, May 10 2018 3:54 pm

State Sen. Patrick Diegnan (D-South Plainfield)  isn’t concerned about the friction between two of New Jersey’s most powerful Democrats, Gov. Phil Murphy and State Senate President Steve Sweeney.

“I just think that’s typical of any relationship. You got to get to know each other. You gotta figure out what pushes other people’s buttons, what their priorities are et cetera,” Diegnan said. “It’s rare that you have two people in leadership positions that embrace each other spontaneously.”

But the two are quite a ways away from embracing one another.

So far, Murphy and Sweeney have clashed over education funding and subsidies for two nuclear power plants in Sweeney’s district, and there are signs of another struggle brewing between Murphy and Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin over homestead tax rebates, which are a top priority for Coughlin and a lesser one for Murphy.

Still, these conflicts are happening to an administration still in its infancy. It’s more than possible that Democrats work out their issues, but they’d have to stop stepping on each other’s toes first.

“I don’t think it’s a big deal,” Diegnan said of the feud. “We’ll see obviously during budget time, but I don’t think it’s a big deal.”

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