Primary Night Speech


Thank you.

New Jersey Democrats, friends, and supporters.

Are we battle ready? Are we ready to for the fight for the New Jersey we believe in?

Tonight is our third Election Night together and – so far – we are three-for-three.

But the real challenge is November – four for four. ARE YOU READY?

Let me be clear – from every perspective in my life — the most important thing I’ve learned, is that no one succeeds alone.

So, in this fall’s election, we will win, if we are TOGETHER — Assembly candidates – citizens — activists — young and old – labor and business — black, brown and white.

All of us must spread the word — present the vision — and work together to win in November.
Thank you all for your friendship — your counsel, and your prayers – thank you for your helping hand – but let’s be clear you’ve only just begun!

I need your help over the next 153 days.

Governor Rendell – you’re a terrific leader — honorable, active and progressive — full of ideas and energy – an inspiration to me and so many. Thank you for being here.

Some of you may even remember that Ed was the mayor of Philadelphia, which I like to think of as one of the more important suburbs of Cherry Hill.

And – I AM counting on you to carry Ocean City.

Governor Codey, for all you do, let me express my gratitude to you as a citizen and as a Democrat for your courage, your integrity and for the strength you’ve shown making the tough decisions for the last 6 months as our governor.

I look forward to partnering with you in the years ahead making our efforts in Trenton work for all the people of New Jersey.

By the way, Governor, over those 153 days, no sweets, no sodas, just carrots and raw meat.

Today, the Republican Party has chosen its candidate for Governor.

I congratulate Doug Forrester for his victory and look forward to a competitive and issue-focused campaign.

I also want to thank James Kelly and Frances Tenaglio for their positive participation in our primary.

But, let me repeat what I have said so often. I’m not running for governor to oppose any individual . . . I’m running for governor to build a better life for eight and a half million New Jerseyans.

I’m not running for governor as a reaction to what OTHERS have said or done. . .

I’m running for governor for what I can do.

I’m running for governor to lead a state that gives citizens value for their hard earned tax dollars and respects the values that hold us together.

I’m running for governor because the future of our state doesn’t belong to those who seek to do business, or practice business as usual.

The future of New Jersey doesn’t BELONG to those who use politics as a lever for power, influence, or money.

The future of New Jersey belongs to its people. And it is time for power in this state to be returned to the people.

Since you’ve made me your U.S. Senator – whether it was standing with the families of 9/11 in their tragedy – or fighting to strengthen homeland security,

…whether it is protecting New Jersey’s prescription drug benefit from cuts imposed by the Bush Administration, or fighting their ideological scheme to privatize Social Security…

…whether it’s keeping arsenic out of our drinking water, or preserving New Jersey’s beaches, Highlands or open spaces…

…whether it’s been cracking down on corporate fraud — or reforming corporate governance…

I haven’t been anybody’s Senator — but yours.

And tonight — I make you this pledge: I won’t be anybody’s governor, but yours.

The people of New Jersey have shown time and again that we are —
-strong in the face of adversity,
-compassionate to those most vulnerable,
-innovative in pursuing solutions to challenges,
-and creative in pioneering new industries and opportunities.

New Jersey deserves a government as strong — as compassionate — as innovative — and creative as its people.

That said — our people — must be joined by a government that is honest and honorable.

Unless we end the culture of corruption that has plagued this state — we won’t
-bring down the cost of government,
-hold down the burden of taxes on our citizens,
-or expect people to trust public officials to make tough – but fair – choices.

That’s why I’ve called for a complete ban on pay-to-play at all levels of government.

That’s why I’ll fight to
–stop pension-padding
— establish an elected state comptroller
–and save taxpayers’ money by cracking down on fraud, pork-barrel spending and backroom deals.

Together let’s fight to shine the light of truth into the halls of Trenton.

The people of New Jersey deserve straight talk and honest numbers.

The people deserve a Governor who can solve problems instead of a candidate who talks about them – and then – runs away from solutions once elected.

As everyone knows — one of the biggest challenges facing our state is that while the benefits of living here are incredible, the cost of living is as well.

We need to make New Jersey – not just the wealthiest state in America — but a far more affordable place.

That is why throughout this campaign my priority will be promoting what I call —an “affordability agenda.”

To make life more affordable for New Jersey families, we need to get our fiscal house in order and build the right economic climate for job creation in the 21st century.

As Governor, I will replace the “failed model” of tax, borrow and spend and replace it with a “new strategy” of invest, grow, and prosper.

I will cut waste — increase efficiency — reform the state’s budget process — and co-invest in industries and technologies –ncluding embryonic stem cell research — that are vitally important to our future health and prosperity.

We need to grow high wage jobs… and when I’m Governor — creating jobs won’t be just the focus of an agency or “line B” in some program.

It will be my mission, my passion because jobs and economic growth will be the foundation of our future and the hope of our families.

Consider, right now, in New Jersey, we are paying nearly the highest medical insurance rates in the nation – the average family in New Jersey is paying almost $1,700 more in premiums than neighbors in Pennsylvania, and $1,000 more than our neighbors in New York.

Unacceptably, 1.2 million of our fellow New Jerseyans go without any health insurance.

Tragically our uninsured receive their health care at a moment of crisis — at the highest cost — in our hospitals’ emergency rooms.

To challenge these realities – I have offered a plan that will — in the next four years — make affordable health care available to 95 percent of New Jersey citizens — and cut costs for families 10 percent below what they otherwise would be.

I also plan to campaign to make college more affordable – so a young person’s chance in life will be determined by his or her talent and dedication – not tuition and fees.

Let Republican politicians support George Bush’s privatization of Social Security, and prescription drug programs that shortchange New Jersey’s seniors.

Let Republicans support the Administration’s misplaced priorities that would slash Meals on Wheels, college loans, Head Start, and Amtrak.

Let me tell you — I WON’T!

Instead — I will campaign to make life better — and — more affordable for our seniors — our students — and our families.

Finally, let me pledge this:
I will NOT offer an unfunded — short term hope and a prayer on property taxes.

I will offer a REAL property tax plan
– a responsible direct rebate to middle class New Jersey families, and seniors
–a rebate that will increase 10% each year over the next four years.

New Jersey has had enough of over-promising and under-delivering!

Going beyond rebates, I will work for a Citizens’ Convention — to find a permanent solution to the unfair property tax burden that homeowners across this state can no longer afford.

My campaign will be specific;
–It will be substantive;
–And every step of the way, the test will be: — how can we provider a higher quality of life for all of New Jersey at a more affordable price?

I urge all of you to check out the details of my “affordability agenda” at And I invite people to get connected, get involved by going to

Friends, I know I’ve been fortunate in my life.
—I was born into a strong and good family
— attended quality public schools,
—started on the ground floor of a great American business
—worked my way to the top,
—and I’ve had the incredible honor to serve all of you in the U.S. Senate.

I’ve truly lived the American dream – and now I want to work to make certain, everyone in New Jersey has the same shot at that dream — I’ve had.

And now – I ask all New Jerseyans
– Democrats, Republicans and Independents –
-I ask all who believe that New Jersey can do better and must do better — to join me.

With our victory, it will not be my governorship …
It will be your governorship.

Working together we will draw on the best among us, while we challenge ourselves to DO our best.

The future for our children,
–the health of our parents,
–and the character of our state are on the line.

Let us join together to fight the good fight!

The key is together.

Again — thank you all for your past support — but most importantly for your future efforts.

To my great staff and volunteers ——-celebrate tonight! Have fun.

Work starts tomorrow -7 a.m. sharp at Metropark in Edison.