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Inaugural Address

NJDomeOn January 16, 2018, Phil Murphy took the oath of office and officially became governor of the State of New Jersey. As one of the main events of a busy day, Murphy delivered an inaugural address, his first opportunity to speak directly to the state as governor. Traditionally, new governors use the inaugural address for any of a number of purposes, among them to reiterate policy priorities; send messages to the state legislature; reach out to political rivals after the election; set a tone for the early days of their administration; and better introduce themselves to the people of the state.

Since 1974 (not including Governor Murphy), seven New Jerseyans have been elected governor and delivered a first inaugural address. While each has found his or her own unique approach to the content and tone, the addresses also have had much in common. Averaging 2,029 words, each inaugural address is a guide to the new administration’s goals but also a contextual map to the environment in which they were taking office. Whether Governor Brendan Byrne’s (1974) references to Watergate or Governor James McGreevey’s (2002) discussion of 9/11, each of these speeches has acknowledged the political and social climate while also providing a vision for a better New Jersey.

Below is a quick look at the first inaugural address by each of the past seven elected governors of New Jersey. A link to the full text of each speech is included, along with a word cloud for each. Click word clouds to enlarge. Note that words that appear only once have been excluded.

 

 

Governor Brendan Byrne

Byrne final

 

Inaugural address delivered on January 15, 1974

Total words: 1,301

 

 

 

 

 

Governor Thomas H. Kean

Kean final

 

Inaugural address delivered on January 19, 1982

Total words: 1,636

 

 

 

 

 

Governor James J. Florio

Florio final

 

Inaugural address delivered on January 17, 1990

Total words: 2,177

 

 

 

 

 

Governor Christine Todd Whitman

Whitman final

 

Inaugural address delivered on January 17, 1994

Total words: 2,728

 

 

 

 

 

Governor James McGreevey

McGreevey final

 

Inaugural address delivered on January 15, 2002

Total words: 1,577

 

 

 

 

 

 Governor Jon Corzine

Corzine final

 

Inaugural address delivered on January 17, 2006

Total words: 2,248

 

 

 

 

 

 

Governor Chris Christie

Christie final

 

Inaugural address delivered on January 19, 2010

Total words: 2,538