Emily’s Weekly Political Scoop: New Jersey Election and Condoleezza Rice


Emily Landolfi, Staff Writer

New Jersey Election: The election for the New Jersey state governor for the next four years occurred yesterday and it’s importance is uncanny. You may not know, considering that a majority of students at FTHS cannot participate in voting, but New Jersey’s governorship is one of America’s most powerful and we have not seen such an intense competitiveness for a governor race in 12 years, according to Brent Johnson at NJ.com. 

NPR explains that because New Jersey is one of two states to have its governor election a year after the presidential election, the national public is more invested in the results, but that’s not all. As we all know, 2020 to 2021 has been… well… unique. The pandemic’s effects on personal lives, social interaction, and cultural lifestyle mixed with the never-ending election filled with accusations and public uproar, New Jersey results will determine what party the political pendulum will swing to for the next few years (Elving). There were five candidates on the ballot: Governor Phil Murphy (Democrat), Jack Ciattarelli (Republican), Madelyn Hoffman (Green Party), Gregg Mele (Libertarian nominee), and Joanne Kuniansky (Socialist Workers). The two main candidates were Murphy and Ciattarelli, who have indulged in tense discourse over the run (Johnson). 

Murphy has been governor since 2017, advocating for a progressive direction for the state, signing laws touching upon various issues including one enacting equal pay, one increased minimum wage, and one boosting taxes on wealthy citizens and businesses. He also increased state government spending by $11 billion to aid social disparities plaguing communities. A major stance that he has widely promoted is one on what COVID-19 actions to take. As the governor during the heart of the pandemic, he ordered lock-down and an immediate mask mandate, maintaining mask rules as of the present day. With the development of vaccines, he has enforced mandatory vaccination or regular testing to state workers, education staff members, child care employees, and health care workers (Johnson).

Ciattarelli, former freeholder for Somerset Country and state Assembly member, primarily opposes Murphy’s tax increase and claims he has made the state unaffordable and too left-leaning. His campaign has been centered around altering the state’s tax code to lower the high property taxes, ultimately getting rid of $10 billion in state government spending. He plans to enact conservative policies around issues of guns, policing, and immigration yet less conservative polices around abortion and climate change, further claiming he wants to “roll back” the LGBTQ + curriculum. In terms of COVID-19, he opposes mask and vaccine mandates on the fundamental value of choice but backs a testing option for government workers (Johnson).

Tonight, Wednesday the 3rd, Murphy has officially won the governor election, maintaining his position (Solomon).

Immerse into the Diverse: What do you want to be when you grow up? A doctor? An actor? A NBA player? The National Women’s History Museum details that Condoleezza Rice aspired to be a concert pianist, who has now become the 66th and first African American woman Secretary of State. Big difference. Born on November 14, 1954 in Alabama, she was raised by a teacher for a mother and a guidance counselor for a father. Her passion for music and talented piano playing blossomed at a young age, ultimately resulting in her pursuing a music major in college. However, as we know, college is not just about majors. After enrolling in an international politics course, she completely flipped her career goals and earned a degree in political science from the University of Denver. That’s not all. She graduated from the same university with a PhD in political science and started her career as an assistant professor at Stanford University (Norwood). 

Her success as a teacher awarded her a positional raise in 1993 to the Provost of Stanford, making her the first women and African American in this title (Norwood). The Stanford website explains that during her 1993 to 1999 term, she was responsible for a $1.5 billion annual budget, served as the Federal Advisory Committee on Gender (“Condoleezza Rice”), pushed the university out of debt, and co-founded an after-school program for unprivileged students called the Center for a New Generation. Although tirelessly teaching, she continuously pursued a political career as in 1889, she advised Soviet Union affairs for the President George H.W. Bush administration (Norwood). 

Her historic landmark in the political domain began in 2000 when she was appointed under Bush as the National Security Advisor, making her the first black woman in this opinion  (Norwood). The Office of the Historian details that in 2005, she was elected the Secretary of State and remained in this position until 2009. During her run, she supported expanding democratic government and an idea called “Transformational Diplomacy.” Her ideology advocated for the redistribution of U.S diplomats to areas with social and political struggle and to address issues including “disease, drug smuggling, and human trafficking.” She successfully obtained agreements in the Middle East including one on the ceasefire between Israel and Hezbollah forces. She also was in charge of the Annapolis Conference, whose goal was to find a “two-state solution” between Israeli-Palestinian (“Condoleezza Rice – People – Department History – Office of the Historian”).

In Iran, Rice improved human rights issues and supported sanctions against the country if the country refused to reduce its “uranium enrichment program.” Moreover, one of Rice’s primary concerns was in North Korea, with their nuclear program and testing of a nuclear weapon. Speaking of, her most successful negotiation was in 2008 when the U.S.-India Agreement for Cooperation Concerning Peaceful uses of Nuclear Energy to allow “civil nuclear trade between the two countries” was signed (“Condoleezza Rice – People – Department History – Office of the Historian”). Though her term ended in 2009, she was relentless in educating the American public about international relations, writing countless books about her time as Secretary. However, we are not done with historically groundbreaking positions, as she became the first woman admitted into membership to Augusta National Golf Club, which has denied positions to women for 80 years (Norwood).

Her international political and social influence is one of mass vitality, but her domestic importance must not be forgotten either. She has broken barriers as an African American woman from 1993 to now, and her historically diverse influences on the country based on her apportioned positions are groundbreaking. 

Works Cited

Johnson, Brent. “Everything You Need to Know about N.J.’s Big

Elections Tuesday, Including the Heated Governor’s Race.” Nj, 2 Nov. 2021,



“Condoleezza Rice.” FSI, tec.fsi.stanford.edu/people/condoleezza_rice.

“Condoleezza Rice – People – Department History – Office of the Historian.” Office of the

Historian, history.state.gov/departmenthistory/people/rice-condoleezza.

Elving, Ron. “Here’s Why the Other 48 States Care Who’s Governor of Virginia and New

Jersey.” NPR, 31 Oct. 2021,



Norwood, Arlisha R. “Condoleezza Rice.” National Women’s History Museum, 2017,


Solomon, Nancy. “New Jersey Voters Choose Their next Governor Today. Here’s What to

Watch.” NPR, 2 Nov. 2021,