- Associated Press - Wednesday, January 21, 2015

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. (AP) - President Barack Obama’s former ambassador to Germany said Wednesday that he’s serious about running for New Jersey governor in 2017.

Philip Murphy said after a policy summit at Rutgers that he hasn’t made a final decision about running but is traveling the state to build support and discuss policies.

“We’re deadly serious about running for governor,” Murphy said in an interview. “We haven’t made the literal, final decision. We’re very seriously looking at it.”

Murphy, a Democrat who founded the New Start New Jersey think tank last year, unveiled seven policies Wednesday aimed at helping the middle class, including raising the minimum wage for people who earn tips and adding a tax credit for children and dependents.

Murphy said too many families in the state “fall behind,” citing increasing health care and housing costs.

Murphy’s policy summit paralleled the format of both the State of the Union and State of the State addresses, outlining what he viewed as New Jersey’s problem areas and then prescribing fixes.

He downplayed the possible political overtones.

“New Start New Jersey is the nonpartisan part of my life,” Murphy said. “I think we have good timing for this. I think we picked this date first. I like to think the president saw this date, and he picked his date.”

The liberal-leaning, Washington-based Center for American Progress helped formulate the ideas.

Murphy and his wife, Tammy, launched New Start New Jersey in November. The group is expected to hold two more policy events this year.

Murphy served as ambassador to Germany from 2009 to 2013. He also worked for former Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine’s Wall Street firm Goldman Sachs for two decades.

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