Who is Jim Johnson and why is he running to succeed Christie as N.J. governor?

By Brent Johnson | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
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on April 30, 2017

 Jim Johnson, a Democratic candidate for New Jersey governor, speaks in Princeton in February.

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WOODBRIDGE -- The massacre occurred more than 700 miles from Jim Johnson's hometown of Montclair. But it was part of the reason he entered this year's race for New Jersey governor. 

Public service isn't new to Johnson. He spent much of the 1990s as a U.S. Treasury official under President Bill Clinton. And later, in between his time as an attorney for a prominent New York City corporate law firm, he tackled civil rights, law enforcement, and gun control issues as chairman of multiple panels and organizations.

But he had never even run for elected office. And few people in New Jersey had ever heard of him.

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Eldridge Hawkins, Jr., once NJ's youngest mayor—age 27, receives youth role model award

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Caption: Pictured Left to right “Community Service Award” recipient Bernel Harrison, “Male Role Model” Eldridge Hawkins, Jr., “Man of the Year” Ravenell Wiliams IV

His ability to overcome setbacks, keep moving forward and achieve success has made him an example to be followed by young people. “If you could do it, so can I” is the statement the former Mayor of Orange, now 37, hears as he travels through the state inspiring youths in his capacity of Director of Policy, Operations Governmental Affairs, working with AmeriCoprs and law enforcement related community issues for the New Jersey Department of State. 

The owner and founder of Black Belt Security Investigations, LLC, Mr. Hawkins was honored as “Male Role Model”, Saturday, by the National Association of Negro Business & Professional Women’s Clubs, Inc. (Union County Club), in Garwood at their 45th anniversary luncheon.

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Mayor David Dinkins Endorses Jim Johnson for New Jersey Governor

By Insider NJ | April 26, 2017, 3:17 pm | in News

 

Today, Mayor David N. Dinkins, the 106th Mayor of the City of New York, endorsed Democratic candidate Jim Johnson for New Jersey Governor.

A New Jersey native, Dinkins was born in Trenton and graduated from Trenton Central High School. In 1989, Dinkins won the Democratic Primary for New York City Mayor and ended incumbent Mayor Edward Koch’s bid for a fourth term. Dinkins went on to narrowly defeat former U.S. Attorney Rudy Giuliani to become the first and only African-American mayor of New York City. As Mayor, Dinkins reduced New York City’s crime rate, rehabilitated dilapidated housing in northern Harlem, the South Bronx and Brooklyn, and invested in assisted housing for the mentally-ill homeless.

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Your property taxes are sky-high. Here's what N.J. governor candidates would do about it.

Updated April 24, 2017
Posted April 24, 2017

Like every election year, New Jersey's sky-high property taxes are atop the list of issues voters want their candidates for governor to tackle.

Once again, the Garden State was found to have the highest property taxes in the nation, which won't come as a shock to anyone who owns a home here.

In 2016, the average Jersey homeowner paid $8,549 per home, a 2.35 percent increase over the year prior, according to the most recent state calculations.

The reasons are myriad. Population density. Aging infrastructure. High cost-of-living. Higher labor costs. More than 1,100 towns and school districts. And New Jersey bans local income and sales taxes, which means that aside from state aid, it all comes from property taxes. 

Guess who foots the outsized bill? You, dear homeowner.

With that in mind, we asked every candidate for governor for their plan on property taxes.

Here's how they answered.

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Democrats and Republicans Pick Apart Christie’s School Funding Plan

By Salvador Rizzo • 04/24/17

Observer

Assemblymen Declan O’Scanlon, left, and Gary Schaer

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At times, it seems like no one is satisfied with Gov. Chris Christie’s proposal to keep funding mostly flat for New Jersey’s school districts in the coming fiscal year.

Christie in February delivered a $35.5 billion budget proposal, which includes $13.8 billion in state aid for schools. That represents a $523 million increase in school funding over the current fiscal year, and critics say it’s mostly meaningless after being split up between 611 school districts trying to keep abreast of surging enrollment, airtight budgets or decaying facilities.

State Democratic lawmakers say that if Christie’s proposal goes through, it will mean that school districts will have received a 1.3 percent increase in funding — over eight years of his governorship — while local property taxes to support school districts will have increased $2.4 billion over the same period.

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Can Jim Johnson Beat NJ’s Democratic Machine?

By Alyana Alfaro and Salvador Rizzo • 04/21/17

Observer

 

Johnson is one of the candidates in the 2017 New Jersey governor’s race.

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Jim Johnson, the former undersecretary for enforcement at the U.S.  Treasury, entered the New Jersey governor’s race in late 2016 after a winner was already called.

Since early October, the conventional wisdom from news reporters and pundits held that the Democratic primary—scheduled for June 6—was basically over because former U.S. Ambassador Phil Murphy had nabbed so many endorsements he was poised to become the state’s next governor.

To Johnson, Murphy’s coronation eight months before primary voters weighed in was “troubling” and a symptom of a wider problem with New Jersey’s transactional politics.

 “From all sorts of people I heard the complaint that, ‘We don’t have a voice in the process. We are told who our leaders are. We aren’t electing them.’ That, to me, seemed profoundly wrong,” Johnson told Observer NJ. “I was pretty clear at that stage that I was going to run for governor but the idea that, even before the presidential election had been decided, folks were trying to figure out who the next governor would be, to me, was undemocratic and should have been challenged.”

So he mounted a challenge.

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Lawmakers Refuse to Let Urban Enterprise Zones Die in Program’s 5 Charter Cities

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Protestors Dog Christie as Booker Pleads for Federal Help on Tunnel Upgrades

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Joe D. and the Gang: An InsiderNJ History of the Essex County Executives

By Max Pizarro | April 17, 2017

insidernj

 

 

The Democratic Party in Essex was so powerful under Harry Lerner, sooner or later someone was going to come along and throw a punch to try to knock him off his throne.

That person proved to be the unlikely Peter Shapiro, the youngest ever person elected to the New Jersey General Assembly, who worked on the West Essex coalition that changed the county government charter to a county executive form. Up to that point, the nine county freeholders functioned as miniature county executives, each on charge of a separate fiefdom of government.

Lerner designated who served where.

That all changed in 1978, when Shapiro led a slate of reformers against the power structure and created the county executive position. Former Governor Tom Kean, Sr. of Livingston once described the office as the second most powerful position in the state. In that first election for the position, legendary Sheriff John Cryan (father of Union County Sheriff Joe Cryan) took a stab at the county executive’s seat, but so did then-Freeholder Donald Payne, Sr., who broke from the Democratic Party establishment to run his own candidacy.

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Chris Christie Heads for the Door, Minus the Earlier Throngs

By NICK CORASANITI

THE NEW YORK TIMES

APRIL 17, 2017

Gov. Chris Christie during a visit to Mid-State Correctional Facility at Fort Dix. The governor is plagued by low approval ratings as he heads into the final months of his term.

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NEWARK — As the final months of his tenure in Trenton wind down, Gov. Chris Christie has kept himself conspicuously busy. He celebrated the opening of a new drug treatment facility. He delved into the intricacies of the Mets’ pitching rotation on a sports radio station. He dropped by the Prudential Center to warn children about the dangers of drug addiction.

This is not how he thought it would end, running out the calendar with largely dutiful tasks.

“Well, one, I thought I might be president,” he said in an extended interview in his office this month, “so that’s a fairly material change.”

With a 20 percent approval rating that secures his place among the most unliked governors in New Jersey history, Mr. Christie enters the final nine months of his administration, which began in 2010, as a governor in a dimming twilight.

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