Phil Gregory

Statehouse Reporter

Phil has been the Statehouse Reporter in Trenton for both WBGO and WHYY in Philadelphia since 2009.

He’s a long-time reporter in the tri-state area. For 10 years he worked at Bloomberg Radio in New York City where he anchored coverage of several major events including the 9/11 attacks and the 2003 blackout. He also covered business and market news as a reporter from the New York Stock Exchange.

Phil is a native of the Lehigh Valley in Pennsylvania and started his broadcast career at WAEB in Allentown, PA where he advanced to become News Director. He was an award-winning reporter and anchor at radio stations WPTR, WFLY and WROW in Albany, NY and at WOBM in Toms River, NJ. Phil is a past President of the Empire State Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists and has been a broadcast instructor at the New School of Contemporary Radio in Albany and at Monmouth University.

Outside of work he enjoys visiting historical, nature and entertainment sites.

Ways to Connect

Supplies at the Food Bank warehouse in Hillside
Community Food Bank of New Jersey

The holiday season is approaching and food pantries in New Jersey are appealing for donations.

Julienne Cherry with the Community Food Bank of New Jersey says many residents can’t afford to buy the food their families need.

“In the state of New Jersey we still have one million people that are food insecure. And of that almost 300,00 of them are kids, and that’s one in seven kids. So, the need is still there. For every dollar that someone donates we’re able to actually provide three meals.”

Cherry is appealing for donations of turkeys and supplies.

Just days before the election of a new Governor, a Monmouth University poll finds Democrat Phil Murphy holds a 14-point lead over Republican Kim Guadagno among likely voters in New Jersey.

Poll director Patrick Murray says that margin is the same as it was in early October.

A New Jersey Congressman is introducing legislation to combat price gouging after natural disasters.
Democrat Frank Pallone says his proposed Stand Up Act would empower the Federal Trade Commission to issue regulations to prohibit excessive pricing of consumer goods or services within 180 days of the declaration of a major disaster and determine the fines for violators.
He says no one should have to pay abusive prices for essentials such as food, water, and gasoline when they’re a victim of a natural disaster.

A New Jersey lawmaker is proposing legislation to prevent convicted sex offenders from living near their victims.

Assemblyman Ron Dancer hopes lawmakers will act on his bill in the lame duck session.

“I think this should have priority for the protection of any of these victims so they do not have to think about their molester, their convicted offender, living either next door or within 1,000 feet.”

Republican Kim Guadagno is hoping to be the second woman elected Governor of New Jersey, but female voters are showing more support for Democrat Phil Murphy.

Only 29 percent of likely women voters surveyed by Quinnipiac University favor Guadagno while 65 percent support Murphy.

Debbie Walsh, the director of the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers, says that fits with the gender gap observed since 1980. 

Many of the 11,000 voting machines in New Jersey are old and will soon have to be replaced. Amid concerns about hacking, state lawmakers are examining how to make sure new machines will be more secure.

Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker says while there’s no evidence of hacking, the machines are hackable.

Princeton computer science professor Andrew Appel say he could quickly break the security seals on a voting machine, replace the chip that records the results, and reseal it so the tampering would be undetectable.

Many New Jersey survivors of Superstorm Sandy are still suffering psychological distress.

Dr. Christine Hatchard is director of the Clinical Psychology Research Center at Monmouth University. She says five years after the storm 15 percent of Sandy victims they’ve been tracking have serious emotional distress. And of those still not back in their homes, 40 percent say they’re stressed out.

Advocates are launching a statewide effort to protect a program that provides food assistance for about 800,000 thousand New Jersey residents.

Adelle LaTourette is the director of the New Jersey Anti-Hunger Coalition.  She says the budget Congress is considering could cut hundreds of millions of dollars from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program that helps low income workers and senior citizens buy the food their families need.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie says his administration learned a lot during Superstorm Sandy and the five years of rebuilding.  The recollections of his senior staff and cabinet members have been put in a recovery playbook for the state.

Christie says the book will bring back some tough memories for victims and first responders but it also highlights what’s been accomplished.

The League of Women Voters of New Jersey says debates in several legislative districts aren’t being held this year because candidates aren’t willing to participate.

Monmouth University Polling Institute director Patrick Murray says avoiding debates is a political strategy for some candidates.

“If you are running ahead, the status quo is your best friend. So you don’t want to upset that by engaging in a debate where something is out of your control.”  

Murray says incumbents might prefer to skip debates.

Advocates for opposite sides of the political spectrum are urging New Jersey lawmakers not to approve subsides to get Amazon to consider locating its second headquarters in the state.

Jon Whiten with New Jersey Policy Perspective says offering Amazon huge subsidies distorts the state’s tax policy and economic development efforts.

“With a proposal like this and $7 billion in tax breaks we’re acting as if we’re South Dakota, we’re begging companies to come here. We’ve got a lot of other reasons for companies to want to be here.”  

Five years after Superstorm Sandy, Governor Chris Christie says more needs to be done to protect vulnerable communities in New Jersey. He says that’s why the state is expanding the Blue Acres program.

Christie says since Sandy, $300 million, most of it federal funds, allowed the state to make 900 buyout offers to willing sellers in areas with repeated flooding and 475 homes have been demolished to covert the land into open space.

Five years after Superstorm Sandy, Governor Chris Christie says more needs to be done to protect vulnerable communities in New Jersey. He says that’s why the state is expanding the Blue Acres program.

Christie says since Sandy, $300 million, most of it federal funds, allowed the state to make 900 buyout offers to willing sellers in areas with repeated flooding and 475 homes have been demolished to covert the land into open space.

Five years after Superstorm Sandy, many New Jersey residents are still feeling the effects.

Waretown resident Nancy Caira and her husband live a short distance from the Barnegat Bay.  She says they used a $30,000 insurance payment to make enough repairs to get back home three months after the storm.

But a few months later when new flood maps came out, they learned that the house was certified as substantially damaged, which meant it had to be elevated.

New Jersey's State Commission of Investigation says waste and abuse are still a big problem for the local Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
Commission spokeswoman Kathy Riley says problems investigators identified 17 years ago are getting worse.

A New Jersey lawmaker wants to limit the use of motor vehicle surcharges.

Senator Shirley Turner says her bill would restrict the surcharges to drunken driving offenses.

"If it's for reasons like a moving violation or parking tickets, then there would be no surcharges. Now with DWI that's a whole different category."

The surcharges assessed on drivers who have excessive points for traffic violations can amount to thousands of dollars.

Turner says many drivers have their license suspended because they can't afford to pay.

A new group in New Jersey wants to make it easier for voters to get information about candidates for legislative and local offices.

Yael Niv helped start the Good Government Coalition of New Jersey.

Some information is available on government and candidates' websites, but she says the state doesn't offer a centralized way to find out who is running for office and where they stand on important issues.

A Fairleigh Dickinson poll finds there’s a Trump Effect in New Jersey’s race for governor.

Poll director Krista Jenkins says 25 percent of likely voters say the way they believe President Donald Trump is handling his job is a factor in deciding the candidate they support in next month’s gubernatorial election.

With just three months left in his term, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is naming a new Superintendent of the State Police.

Superintendent Rick Fuentes is retiring on November 1st. He enlisted in the State Police in 1978 and served as is leader since 2003.

“I would sum up my 40 years probably in two sentences. There were days and there were times when I wanted to go home from work early. There was never a single day I can remember when I didn’t want to come to work.”

A non-profit foundation that works to improve public policy decisions in New Jersey says prompt action is needed to provide a high-quality public education for all children in the state.

Former Chief Justice Doborah Portiz chairs the Fund for New Jersey. She’s says it time for the state to give the school districts what they are were promised under the 2008 School Funding formula.

“We need to fully fund SFRA under the formula, not in any transition mode anymore, not with transition funding, but fully fund it.”

Advocates are urging New Jersey’s next governor to increase the state’s investments and support for higher education.

New Jersey Policy Perspective president Gordon MacInnes says a pattern of disinvestment in the state’s public colleges and universities over the last quarter century has resulted in high costs and rising debt for students.

He says the Secretary of Education lacks the resources to analyze the performance of colleges and maximize opportunities.

Governor Christie is advancing Newark’s bid to win Amazon’s competition to determine where the internet retailer will build its second headquarters.

Christie says Newark represents the heart-and-soul of what Amazon is seeking.

“Newark is a growing technology hub. They are a growing education for the state of New Jersey. Unparalleled transportation options and unique cultural options in this city as well.”

U-S Senator Cory Booker, a former mayor of Newark, says Amazon would be smart to come to Newark.

This is usually the time to think about a weekend drive to check out the fall foliage. But so far, we’re not seeing a dazzling display of color.

New Jersey state climatologist Dave Robinson says the change in leaf color is getting a late start because of warmer than average temperatures in recent weeks.  

“That tends to delay the season. It doesn’t necessary destroy the season. So, I would think right now unless it turns cool pretty quickly, we’re probably going to see a one, maybe even longer than, a week delay in getting the peak foliage.”  

Republican gubernatorial nominee Kim Guadagno is under fire for a campaign ad attacking Democrat Phil Murphy for saying he might make New Jersey a sanctuary state for undocumented immigrants.

The ad says Murphy would protect unauthorized immigrants including deranged murderers.

Louis DiPaolo with the New Jersey Working Families Alliance says that mischaracterizes what Murphy was saying and calls the ad shameful.

President Trump's executive order to make cheaper health insurance plans more widely available is meeting with resistance in New Jersey.

Betsy Ryan is the President and CEO of the New Jersey Hospital Association. She's concerned the President's order could end up increasing the cost of insurance for people with pre-existing conditions.

Democrat Phil Murphy has raised more than three times as much as Republican Kim Guadagno in New Jersey’s race for governor.

Murphy collected $10.3 million while Guadagno raised $3 million.

Murphy still has $5.4 million left in his campaign coffers, Guadagno less than a million.

Fairleigh Dickinson political science professor Peter Woolley says there’s a simple reason for the big fundraising disparity.

The New Jersey legislature is not scheduled to meet until after the election.  It's uncertain what might be enacted before a new governor takes office and the current legislative session ends in January.

Governor Chris Christie says he wants lawmakers to pass a measure in the lame duck session that would extend the two-percent cap on arbitration awards for police and firefighters.

He'd also like to get some nominations done.

A philanthropic foundation says many New Jersey residents struggle with the high costs of housing.

The Fund for New Jersey is making several recommendations to increase the amount of affordable homes.

Staci Berger leads the Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey. She says one proposed initiative would provide $600 million in tax credits for developers to build affordable housing for working families, seniors, and people with disabilities.

New Jersey officials are hoping a new bundled program for job training in Gloucester County can be expanded statewide.

Dr. Fred Keating is the President of Rowan College at Gloucester County. He says the goal is for colleges to create certificate and degree programs tailored to the skills businesses need in their workforce.

Governor Christie's Task Force on Drug Abuse Control has release its report, making 40 recommendations to combat opioid epidemic.

Christie says many of the recommendations were included in the $200 million initiatives he announced last month. And he's directing is staff to develop plans to implement all of them before he leaves office in January.  

He's directing New Jersey's Department of Health to immediately revise guidelines so first responders can carry four milligrams of Narcan.