N.J. Constitutional Convention: Vol. 5, Page 30


Tuesday, June 24, 1947
(Afternoon session)

the United States of America." It is true that the framers of the 1844 Constitution stated, in paragraph 1 of Article V, "The Executive power shall be vested in a Governor." Nonetheless, your predecessors had serious reservations, and these reservations, incorporated in the 1844 Constitution in numerous sections, have effectively handicapped your Governor in the performance of executive duties expected of him by the citizens of the State to whom he is responsible.

At the outset I would like to emphasize that my interest is in the entire Constitution, rather than a particular portion. I would strengthen each of the basic branches of the Government: Executive, Legislative, Judicial; and in doing so retain the traditional checks and balances that make our form of government unique among the governments of the world.

A constitution should allocate authority; it should not prescribe detail. Accordingly, I would suggest that we return to the basic principles of 1787, without the encumbering, frequently cumbersome, and occasionally disastrous, reservations that were incorporated in the 1844 state document.

I recommend the extension of the term of future Governors to four years. The election for a Governor should, in my judgment, occur in odd-numbered years. In any event, the election for a Governor and for Assemblymen should not coincide with a Presidential election. The importance of a gubernatorial election merits an election that will not be overshadowed by a national contest for the Presidency. The problems confronting the State are frequently distinct from those confronting the nation. If we are to develop a new working federalism in this country and thus save the republican form of government, guaranteed incidentally in the Federal Constitution, federal election should determine national policies, while the state election should determine state policies and administrative issues of major importance.

Future Governors should be granted the privilege of succeeding themselves, if this be the will of the majority of the citizens of the State. I believe in our republican form of government. I have no fear of democracy. Accordingly, I am prepared to trust our citizens. Therefore, I would permit a Governor to stand for reelection, and in doing so, to submit his progress to the crucial test of approval or disapproval by our citizens.

The Governor finds himself today in rather strange company. The company consists of our sheriffs and our coroners who, like the Governor, are prohibited from seeking reelection. The possibility of reelection would, in my judgment, encourage the Governor to represent the best interests of his constituents, in the hope that if he chose to run for reelection, he would merit their favorable approval.

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