- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 5, 2005

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — New Jersey’s acting governor seems to go out of his way to look like an average guy. He doesn’t live in the stately governor’s mansion. He eats Cheerios for breakfast. He makes time to coach youth basketball.

Pushed into office by his predecessor’s resignation, Gov. Richard J. Codey is now a lame duck, a status that has enabled him to keep a low profile — and take unpopular stands.

Among his boldest moves were raising the minimum wage, promoting stem-cell research and calling for spending cuts to ease a $4 billion budget deficit.

?Codey made decisions that made running [for governor] nearly impossible,? said political scientist David Rebovich. ?He preached belt-tightening in an election year.?

The 58-year-old father of two flirted with a run for the position he inherited when James E. McGreevey resigned in a stunning, nationally televised announcement that he was homosexual and had an extramarital affair with a man. But citing family concerns, Mr. Codey opted to throw his support in tomorrow’s Democratic primary to Sen. Jon Corzine instead.

Mr. Codey shrugs off suggestions that the governor’s race, one of only two in the nation, will soon shift the public’s eye from his work as acting governor.

?They’re going to be watching an election, I can appreciate that. We’re going to do policy. I’m not going to stop. It’s as simple as that,? he said.

Some of Mr. Codey’s boldest moves include raising the state’s minimum wage to $7.15 and brokering a deal to get the New York Giants a new football stadium at the Meadowlands.

He has proposed borrowing $230 million for stem-cell research grants in the hopes of finding cures for Parkinson’s disease and spinal cord injuries — a move that angered right-to-life groups, who oppose research that destroys human embryos.

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