What NJ’s Leaders Must Address in 2024

The new Legislature and the Murphy administration should tackle issues like offshore wind and climate change, judicial vacancies and veteran reform.

Wind turbines in water
Our leaders must focus on issues such as climate change, especially after Ørsted pulled out of offshore wind projects in South Jersey, writes Steve Adubato. Photo: Courtesy of Ørsted

Who knew the Democrats would score a huge win in the November legislative elections? I didn’t. So now that the state is pretty darn blue, what does it mean for the issues that matter most? Here are some things the new Legislature and the Murphy administration should address, as well as some other political items of importance.


Now that Danish energy developer Ørsted has flown the coop and abandoned wind-energy projects in southern New Jersey, where do we go from here? There is pressure on Governor Phil Murphy (whom I just interviewed on public broadcasting on this topic) to clarify the future of wind energy and the cost of this important climate change initiative. He, along with Democratic legislative leaders, need to agree on a more realistic and economically feasible climate change game plan. If not, future generations will pay the price.


In a previous column, I wrote about the horrific treatment of seniors and veterans in our nursing homes. As I said then, and will continue say, talk is cheap. Let’s see what Governor Murphy and the Legislature do to make long overdue improvements.


Speaking of politics, one can only hope that Republican Congressman Tom Kean Jr. will finally agree to a substantive media interview or a town hall meeting to talk about pressing issues. One wonders why he even wants to be in Congress if he no longer wants to be a “public” official.


Want to get a divorce or deal with another legal matter? You are going to have to wait a long time, because there aren’t enough judges in the state Superior Court. Why? Because our politicians play games with judicial appointments. Confirming judges here has to do less with qualifications and more with state senators exercising “senatorial courtesy,” allowing them to block a judge from their home county from getting on the bench. Only in New Jersey.


This parental notification thing has gotten out of control. Yes, the Republicans overplayed this culture-war issue in the election. But it’s not conservative or liberal to say that, if a parent of a fifth-grader must be informed of their kid going on a school trip to the Bronx Zoo, that same parent should be informed of discussions that child initiated about their own gender. Of course we want to protect the privacy of LGBTQ students, but parents do have rights when it comes to their kids.


Now that federal pandemic money has virtually run out, legislators must pass a budget that is fiscally responsible and only spends what the state has. Imagine that—living within your means.


We should hold elections in November 2024 in which the majority of citizens trust the results and we stop this crazy talk about stealing an election—regardless of who wins or loses.

There are many more issues that matter in New Jersey, and I will address them. But for now, let’s just make some progress as we kick off a new year.

Steve Adubato, PhD, is the author of six books, including his newest, Lessons in Leadership 2.0: The Tough Stuff. He is an Emmy Award–winning anchor with programs airing on Thirteen/WNET (PBS) and NJ PBS. He has also appeared on CNN, CBS News and NBC’s Today show. Steve Adubato’s Lessons in Leadership video podcast, with cohost Mary Gamba, airs Sundays at 10 am on News 12+. For more information, visit stand-deliver.com.

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