Editorial: Friendly advice for our New Jersey governor

A few Sundays ago, Elise Young, reporter for The Record, profiled Dick Codey, the previously little-known politician who was suddenly thrust onto center stage to replace Jim McGreevey as governor. New Jerseyans may have thought that the man who will be one of the most powerful governors in the nation for the next 14 months would be just another Christie Whitman or Jim Florio.

But Young’s piece revealed a real person, someone who attends his son’s soccer games and decided to remain in his West Orange home rather than move into Drumthwacket. And that is what Trenton needs most right now – someone who will consider his own humanity when making decisions, someone who can apply that first-grade advice from mom when making choices in the less humane world of politics – advice like:

Don’t lie. New Jerseyans’ ears are already ringing.

Don’t steal. Don’t use our tax dollars to pay for your own selfish agenda.

Don’t push. In particular, don’t push your friends up the ladder. Sure they can do the job, but give it to the most qualified applicant, whomever that may be.

Don’t litter. McGreevey did a decent job cleaning up New Jersey. Please help keep it that way.

Don’t cheat – not on your wife, not on your public. We want to trust you.

First grade was a long time ago for the 57-year-old governor, which may explain why mom’s advice is sometimes forgotten in Trenton. But these simple values are what help us make the right decisions and help us gain trust in elected officials. That is, after all, what good relationships are built on. Dick, we’re relying on you.