As newly elected governor of a state that suffered a large loss of life in the September 11 attacks and has a large budget deficit, McGreevey’s strong leadership qualities are already being put to the test.
In November 2001, Democrat McGreevey defeated Republican Bret Schundler in the New Jersey gubernatorial election. As former Mayor of Woodbridge, his reforms and leadership led to his winning his 1999 re-election bid with 80 percent of the vote. He served in the State Assembly in 1990 and 1991 and in the State Senate from 1994 to 1997.
Large budget shortfalls and an electoral promise not to raise taxes have led him to call for fiscal restraint, and present a formidable challenge in the early part of his term. There is little doubt he is up to the challenge. In his inaugural speech, McGreevey described the three main challenges facing New Jersey — keeping the state safe from terrorism; living within its means; and educating its children — as a “joyful burden.” In the same speech, promoting the idea of strength in unity, he said, “If we come together as Americans — as New Jerseyans — in the same way we came together in the wake of September 11, there is no challenge we cannot meet, no problem we cannot solve.”
McGreevey, whose family hails from Boyle, Co. Roscommon, remains loyal to his Irish roots. On March 2, 2002, he will accept the Annie Moore Award as the Outstanding Irishman for 2002 at the Irish American Cultural Institute’s 9th Annual St. Patrick’s Day Ball in Washington, D.C. ♦