Democrat Phil Murphy takes oath as New Jersey governor

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Toni Yates reports from Trenton as Phil Murphy takes the oath as New Jersey governor. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

Democrat Phil Murphy became New Jersey's 56th governor, succeeding Republican Chris Christie, during a ceremony at the War Memorial in Trenton Tuesday.

Murphy's wife, Tammy, and their four children joined him on stage as he was sworn in by state Supreme Court Chief Justice Stuart Rabner, taking the oath on the same Bible that John F. Kennedy used when he was sworn in as president. Murphy, like Kennedy, grew up in Massachusetts.

Watch the swearing-in ceremony here:
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Democrat Phil Murphy became the state's 56th governor during a ceremony in Trenton, NJ.

He succeeds Christie after two terms and promises to take a much different approach toward President Donald Trump's policies. While Christie was a friend and ally, Murphy promises to be an antagonist.

Murphy built his campaign - his first run for elected office- around undoing the Trump administration's efforts on health care, immigration, and taxes.

Hinting at Trump's reported vulgar comments last week about immigration, Murphy in his inaugural address called the country a "beacon of light" for immigrants including those from Haiti and Africa.

"It is leadership that has driven America through the generations to be the envy of the world, to have saved it from fascism and other existential threats, and to have made us a force for good around the world, and a beacon for peace and prosperity. It is leadership that has made our country a place where immigrants still come in hope of a better future," he said.

After the swearing in, a salute of cannons went off outside of the ceremony at the grand War Memorial in Trenton and Murphy went down a line of officials shaking hands.

He hugged Christie and then, in his inauguration speech, praised his work addressing the opioid crisis and his role as a father. He thanked him for over two decades of public service to the state. Christie served as the U.S. attorney in New Jersey before he ran for governor.

During the campaign and in the weeks leading up to taking office, Murphy said he will focus on NJ Transit reforms. He will push for the legalization of marijuana and raising taxes on millionaires.

As part of his five days of inaugural events, Murphy took a ride on the Hudson-Bergen Line light rail and said, "We have to get transit right."

He has already asked for the resignation of some senior NJ Transit staff members.

Even though he's already had some pushback from the Trump Administration, the governor-elect says that he expect a new Hudson River Rail Tunnel during his term.

"We probably won't succeed every minute, we'll make our share of mistakes. But it begins with having a fairer and stronger economy and society that works not just for some but for everyone," Murphy said.

Murphy's inaugural ball was being held Tuesday night at Met Life Stadium in East Rutherford.

The new governor earned his fortune, which he used to help win the Democratic nomination last year, as an executive at Goldman Sachs. The state's last Democratic governor, Jon Corzine, who Christie ousted in 2009, also was an executive at Goldman Sachs.

Murphy, who like Kennedy grew up in Massachusetts, also served several years under the Obama administration as ambassador to Germany.

He takes over from a larger-than-life governor who oversaw the state as its economy rebounded but who also saw his popularity plunge after a failed presidential run and the George Washington Bridge lane-closure scandal. A former ally pleaded guilty and two former aides were convicted in the political revenge plot, which targeted a Democratic mayor who wouldn't endorse his second gubernatorial bid.

"Thank you to all the people of New Jersey for the honor of being your Governor for the last eight years," Christie wrote on Twitter after the inauguration. "It was a true privilege."

(Some information from the Associated Press)

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