The Phil Murphy Inaugural Experience – their term, like it’s some kind of theme park adventure – begins at noon tomorrow with an Interfaith Prayer Service at the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Newark. Several prominent members of the clergy – including Pastor Idida Rodriguez of the Church of 1868 Public Affairs – will be on hand to offer prayers for the new administration.
Some New Jerseyans have been praying just to get a new Governor.
Next, a 1:30 PM, is an Inaugural Kickoff at the Newark Museum, hosted by Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Essex, Hudson and Union counties.
On Saturday, the new Governor and Lt. Governor will work their way across the state to talk about “incredible opportunities for transit” in New Jersey. Murphy will be in Jersey City, Hoboken, Union City, North Bergen, Paramus, Elizabeth, and Metuchen.
In Union City, Murphy will likely hear from Mayor/State Sen. Brian Stack, who is unhappy that a transportation funding bill that would have helped his city didn’t make it through the lame duck session. There was some speculation that Murphy would skip Union City, but it’s still on his schedule. He’s probably figured out that Stack is a huge force in Hudson County politics – relentless in his advocacy of Union City — and that he needs to keep him happy.
In Metuchen, expect Murphy to pay tribute to Peter Cammarano, his new Chief of Staff. Cammarano resigned as Mayor of Metuchen last month and was replaced by Jonathan Busch, the Democratic Municipal Chairman and a powerful education lawyer who represents two dozen school districts.
Lt. Gov.-elect Sheila Oliver will visit Hoboken, Paterson and Passaic, and incoming First Lady Tammy Murphy will be in Hoboken, Red Bank, Bay Head and Galloway.
Murphy will start Sunday in Cape May County, for a 9:30 AM wreath laying ceremony at the Wildwoods Veterans Memorial. At 11 AM, he’ll take part in a Kids’ Interactive Inaugural at the Adventure Aquarium in Camden. For the political community, here’s the thing to watch for: how many South Jersey Democratic officials show up at his events.
At 5PM Murphy will host an Inaugural Concert at Middlesex Community College. For weeks, his inaugural committee site has teased that “special guests and program to be announced.” Everybody assumes it’s Jon Bon Jovi – if it’s not, then Murphy will learn that sometimes he’ll disappoint people even when he didn’t promise them anything.
Monday is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Murphy, Oliver and “the entire Murphy-Oliver administration” will participate in a community service activity – one in each county – to celebrate Dr. King’s life.
On Tuesday, Murphy will take office as the 56th Governor of New Jersey. (In case you’re counting off in your head, John Bennett isn’t considered one of the 56.) And Oliver will become the 2nd Lt. Governor.
The day starts with the traditional Inaugural Prayer Service, at 9:30 AM at the Shiloh Baptist Church in Trenton. The swearing in takes place in the Patriot’s Theater at the War Memorial in Trenton, starting at 11AM. The Inaugural Ball will be in a “engineered-for-winter” tent on the field of MetLife Stadium at the Meadowlands.
The final event of the Murphy Inaugural Experience takes place that afternoon at Morven – that’s the mansion down the street from Drumthwacket that served as the official residence of New Jersey Governors between 1944 and 1981. In his first post-gubernatorial event, Chris Christie has rented out Morven to host a reception for family, friends and staffers.