Lou Martinez of the New Jersey Federation of Sportsman Club’s News was afforded this interview on behalf of the Federation and NJOA. Here is the complete and unedited transcript. Mr. Murphy has yet to respond to Federation and NJOA questionnaires or requests for an official interview.
Question-New Jersey’s Division of Fish and Wildlife stands as an exemplary example of wise wildlife management and conservation. Neighboring states have not only taken notice but are also implementing some of the management techniques implemented in the Garden State. Do you support the Division of Fish and Wildlife in their endeavors and would you continue to support their efforts in the face of adverse opinions promoted by animal rights activists? Can you comment specifically about black bear management?
Answer- “As the NRA-endorsed candidate for New Jersey governor and a lifetime member of the New Jersey Outdoor Alliance, I am a strong supporter of preserving New Jersey’s hunting and fishing tradition. I support the state’s bear hunt, which is an essential element of our bear management measures. Over the past several decades, we have done a great job in bringing back the black bear population where we now have an over population. In fact, the northwestern region of New Jersey has the highest bear per acre ratio in the nation. Since the addition of the fall hunt in 2016, the number of bear complaints DEP has received has dropped more than 50 percent, and Category 1 complaints – which involve encounters that present the greatest potential for someone to get hurt – have dropped nearly 60 percent.”
“I will also continue the direction the state’s Division of Fish and Wildlife has been undertaking in regards to wildlife management and conservation. New Jersey just won a major battle with the Atlantic States Commission over limits on fluke and summer flounder that that threatened to shut down the entire fishing season. If elected, I will continue to work with the Trump administration to strengthen our fishing community and improve our economy.”
Question- Currently the sportsmen and women of NJ pay for wildlife and conservation through self-imposed taxes on angling and hunting equipment. They also pay through the fees for hunting and fishing licenses and various stamps. If you were in a position to be called upon to sign off on Fish and Council recommendations based on scientific data provided by wildlife biologists, would you support said recommendations or would you bend to the pressure exerted by groups such as PETA whose goal is to end hunting and fishing in N.J. and elsewhere?
Answer-“We must listen to the experts, not unknowledgeable activists seeking to shut down hunting and fishing. If elected, I will also continue to work with the Trump administration to strengthen our fishing community and improve our economy.”
Question- How have you shown your support to Garden State sportsmen and women? Do you partake in any outdoor activities? If so which ones?
Answer- “As a mom and Jersey Shore resident who lives right on the Shrewsbury river, the outdoors has played an important part of my family’s life, so supporting the state’s sportsman and women has always been important to me. As a mom, I used to take my three boys fishing when they were growing up, and I believe all New Jerseyans should have the right to share that kind of experience with their kids. My youngest son, Anderson, is an active fisherman and will fish anytime, anywhere. He and I together have attended numerous surf fishing contests including the ones at Island Beach State Park. We have also attended several trout season openings together.”
“My middle child rowed on the river throughout high school and is now an active rower in college. My oldest child was a lifeguard and a sailor before going to the Air Force Academy and training to be a fighter pilot. As a family, we often fish by kayak, off our backyard dock or in our 19-foot Carolina skiff. In season, we also go crabbing.”
Question- Currently there are approximately 20 anti-gun laws being bandied about in the State Legislature. What is your position on legal gun ownership and the second amendment? There has been talk of re-introducing some firearms related bills that had been vetoed by Gov. Christie. If they were to reach your desk as Governor, would you support his actions and veto them similarly?
Answer-“I am a strong supporter of the second amendment and used to carry a .45 Smith and Wesson as the first female sheriff of Monmouth County.”
“If my opponent Phil Murphy is elected, he already said he would sign every piece of gun control legislation vetoed by Governor Christie. He’s even promised an additional tax on all legal gun sales. He is an out-of-touch liberal that would be worse than Michael Bloomberg when it comes to the second amendment. New Jersey already has the third most restrictive gun laws in the country, and if elected, I will be a much needed check and balance against the legislature to protect the second amendment and veto bad bills like our current governor did.”
Question- What is your current ranking by the National Rifle Association?
Answer- “While my opponent, Phil Murphy, has an “F,” I am proud to be endorsed by the NRA with an A rating.”
Question- Today the Division of Fish and Wildlife oversees and manages in excess of 350,000 acres of public land. Although the bulk of funds comes from sportsmen and women through the aforementioned self imposed fees, would you seek Green Acres funds to improve access to these lands and do you think that the general public should “kick in” their fair share?”
Answer-“Protecting and ensuring easy access to public land is imperative both to maintaining a great quality of life for residents, but also for promoting the tourism to other areas of the state, not just the shore. To that end, I would consider using Green Acres funds or other available funds to ensure that we have access to public lands and improve facilities.”
Question-Are you aware of the current problems facing saltwater fishermen? And if so what do you propose to do as Governor to represent NJ anglers who feel that they are getting the short end of the stick through the short seasons, lower bag limits, etc.? Additionally, what about all of the Charter Boat Captains and their family and employees losing their businesses and jobs because of these short-sighted quick fixes? How would you handle this?
Answer-“I will aggressively represent N.J. anglers to ensure a strong and vibrant fishing community in New Jersey. We need fair rules that keep New Jersey open for business.”
“New Jersey fishermen have been victimized by antiquated laws governing quotas, regional fishery bodies that rely on outdated data and methodologies to set quotas, and a lack of scientific data to support New Jersey fishery interests. We need a new paradigm and we must take a long-term approach to stabilize the industry in New Jersey. I support beefing up the N.J .DEP’s Division Fish and Game staff so that they can go head to head with the federal government and other states to advance of New Jersey’s interests. I also want to engage our universities so that we have the data that we need to win quota fights. We also need to work with the Trump Administration and our Congressional leaders to overhaul the Magnuson-Stevens Act so that we can make fishery decisions on sound science and better take into account the economic impact on both our commercial and recreational anglers.”
Question- Combined, N.J. hunters and fishermen make up a significant percentage of the state’s voting population. Lately many women are taking to the woods, waters, and fields to take part in all outdoor activities. These groups add billions of dollars to our nation’s economy and millions of dollars to New Jersey’s economic growth. They pay for hotels, equipment, meals, gas, meat-processing fees, and more… yet many feel disenfranchised by the high tax on gas implemented by the Democrats but signed into law by a Republican Governor. Would you support and sign another tax on gas and if so, why?
Answer-“I will not raise taxes period. In fact, I’ve promised to lower property taxes in my first term or I won’t run for a second. Unlike Phil Murphy, I was not in favor of the gas tax increase originally, and I do not support another gas tax increase.”
“What’s scary is that Phil Murphy embraced a report from former Governor Jim Florio calling for more tolls on interstates like I-287 and I-78, as well as higher DMV fees. He’s also promised and admitted he will raise taxes by at least $1.3 billion if he’s elected.”
“Instead of raising taxes, I will audit all aspects of state government operations. Believe it or not, New Jersey hasn’t conducted a full-scale audit of state government since 1983 when former Gov. Tom Kean implemented the Governor’s Management Improvement Plan. He had teams look at all aspects of state government operations and identified an estimated $100 million in savings for New Jersey taxpayers. Not withstanding the exponential growth of state government over the past 30 years, that would be nearly a quarter of a billion dollars in today’s money.”
“Recommendations from a recent state government-wide audit in Louisiana identified $2.7 billion in savings over five years, and another in Kansas identified $2 billion in savings over five years. Those kinds of savings for New Jersey would equal real and lasting property tax relief for middle-class families.”
“I believe taxpayers need to have confidence that the money they send to Trenton is being spent efficiently and wisely. For instance, I will require all top officials at NJ Transit to reapply for their jobs with the goal of selecting the very best transportation professionals to improve customer service. That’s the kind of accountability people expect and the kind of accountability I will bring as governor.”
Question- Why should Democratic sportsmen and women vote for you? What’s on the line that will affect them?
Answer-“This election hasn’t made the front pages of the newspapers as often as it should, because there are big issues at stake for sportsmen and women. My opponent would shut New Jersey down for law abiding gun owners and decimate the hunting and fishing community if elected. “
“But there is a lot at stake for our pocketbooks as well. I believe it’s time for a working mom and former sheriff to lead our state. Phil Murphy is an out-of-touch, Goldman Sachs millionaire who has promised to raised taxes if elected. Under Phil Murphy, New Jersey will be-come even less affordable. I am running for governor from one very simple reason: to make New Jersey better, more affordable for everyday New Jerseyans. If I don’t lower property taxes during my first term in office, I won’t run for a second.”
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