Serving my community has always been an integral part of my life. Since the early years of my career, I have worked to make sure that New Jerseyans — of every background — have the resources and opportunities they need to succeed. This motivation guided me during my years in local government and in our State Assembly. With every seat I’ve held, my mission to do more and to do better for New Jersey grew. And that’s the mission I take with me every day as Lieutenant Governor.
My years of service at the local level have given me insight into the biggest issues working- and middle-class New Jerseyans face. Too many New Jerseyans struggled to make their monthly rent, get their kids the quality education they deserve, and pay medical bills for health care they needed to live. Since day one, Governor Phil Murphy and I have fought to lift up New Jersey women and families — because we know that by elevating women, we help New Jerseyans in every aspect of life. We champion the fundamental belief that when women — and all New Jerseyans — are given equal opportunity, New Jersey is stronger.
We’ve worked hard to make the Garden State stronger and fairer for everyone, including women. Restoring funding for women’s health care was a central tenet of our campaign promises in 2017, and the first piece of legislation Phil Murphy signed was to restored funding. Tens of thousands of New Jerseyans rely on health care services provided by Planned Parenthood — it’s as simple as that. From cancer screenings to HIV and family planning services, Planned Parenthood is an essential provider of health care. Protecting and expanding funding for these critical services will ultimately protect women and make New Jersey stronger and fairer.
Phil and I also fought to establish the strongest equal pay law in the nation. One of Phil’s first acts as Governor was to sign an executive order banning discriminatory hiring practices in state government based on gender identity. We then enacted legislation that made it illegal for employers to ask about past salary history. These laws bring a level of transparency across all backgrounds and put an end to workplace practices that ultimately hold women, especially women of color, back. New Jersey is leading the charge when it comes to ending the gender pay gap in America.
Phil and I have worked to make our team representative of the great diversity of the Garden State. I am the first of what I hope will be many Black female Lieutenant Governors. For the first time in state history, we appointed a majority-female cabinet and the first woman and Asian American to serve as Adjutant General of the New Jersey National Guard and Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. We also nominated the first Black woman to the New Jersey Supreme Court, and we have fought for greater representation for women down the ballot.
Over the last three-plus years, we have championed legislation and instituted policies that protect women and give them greater opportunities to succeed. But we also recognize that our work is not yet done. Even now, we are fighting to pass critical legislation — like the Reproductive Freedom Act, which will ensure that a woman’s right to choose is protected here in New Jersey, even when threatened by the U.S. Supreme Court.
If there is an opportunity to make New Jersey stronger and fairer for all our residents, Phil and I will tackle it. Our partnership is strong, and I will continue to stand beside Phil as we fight to build on all of the progress we’ve made. We can’t go back to the way things were before — we have to keep moving New Jersey forward.