WEST ORANGE, NJ — Professional media leaders discussed the aftermath of the election and how it affects the State of New Jersey when the Association of Corporate Growth (ACG) hosted a breakfast at the Pleasantdale Chateau in West Orange on Wednesday.

Some topics of discussion included: Governor Chris Christie and his possible political future in federal government and whether he left to join Trump’s administration; some things Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno could do immediately to sell the people on her being the next governor; how Rodney Frelinghuysen “squeaked” out a Morris County victory; Cory Booker’s victory; and how all these victories will impact the nation and New Jersey.

“It has been a crazy time,” said Heidi Shore, territory marketing manager for Grant Thornton LLP and ACG board member. “No matter what side you were on, it just was nuts. So I thought, we need a program on this, especially from people who are in the know—talking to us about, what’s the inside story and what can we learn from them.”

Sign Up for E-News

The panel for this discussion included Jonathan Salant, Washington Correspondent for NJ Advance Media; Andrew George, New Jersey State House Correspondent for NJBIZ Weekly Business Journal; Matthew Hale, Ph.D, Associate Professor & MPA Director for Seton Hall University Department of Political Science and Public Affairs; Tom Bergeron, Editor-in-Chief for NJBIZ. 

Bergeron, who has worked for major media operations for more than two decades, held senior positions at Yahoo! Sports, The Start-Ledger and The Kansas City Star prior to coming to NJBIZ.

“[This discussion] got a cross section of people: a journalist from New Jersey, a journalist from DC and a political science expert, so it brought a lot of different opinions which was great,” said Bergeron. “This is a complicated issue, so I thought it was nice that we took it above the fray of whether you were for candidate A or candidate B. We took a big picture look on how it was going to impact New Jersey and how it could impacted all future elections.”

Hale, current president of the Nonprofit Academic Centers Council (NACC) and former member of the executive council of Nonprofit Section of the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs and Administration (NASPAA), focuses his research on how the media covers the public and nonprofit sectors and on media coverage of campaigns and elections. He is also a frequent media commentator on New Jersey and national politics.

“I really appreciated having an engaged audience, people who were knowledgeable about the issues and who were asking questions that we haven’t thought of,” he said of the ACG event. “It was a great group and it was fun to be a part of.”

George, an award-winning Statehouse Correspondent from NJBIZ's Trenton bureau, covers the intersection of politics and business in New Jersey—keeping a close eye on legislation and developments that hit home in both the C-Suite and out on Main Street. Since joining NJBIZ in 2013, Andrew has covered everything from Bridgegate to the passing of the landmark Economic Opportunity Act and has reported from out on the campaign trails for heated gubernatorial and U.S. Senate races.

“It’s so important to do these autopsies to really understand how we got here,” said George, adding that this has been the most covered election of all time, the most publicized election of all time. “They will only continue to be that way from here on out, but, you really have to understand how you got here so that you can move forward. So these conversations, especially with these prominent community leaders and great panelists, are so important to really understand and put things in perspective for our community.”

Salant, a former president of the National Press Club and current member of the Standing Committee of Correspondents, has covered Congress, the White House and politics for nearly 30 years in the nation’s capital. He began his career with the Bergen Record when it was known as the Bergen Record and worked for the Miami Herald, Syracuse newspapers, Congressional Quarterly, the Associated Press and Bloomberg News.

“Questions [today] were good by both moderator and audience and I think it’s really good to talk to community leaders and get their thoughts and maybe pick up a couple of stories that we can do on our own because they have concerns in their minds,” he said. “I make my reputation as a campaign finance reporter—so that was my favorite topic—that hits home for me.”

Sally Glick, principal of Livingston accounting firm Sobel & Co., said ACG is New Jersey at its best. She said the high level speakers shared smart, diverse opinions with the audience on a very relevant topic—the election and its impact both nationally and locally here in New Jersey. 

“We are always very thoughtful about the selection of speakers and topics and very proud that we are always on the cutting edge, as exemplified by this terrific program coming just a few days after Nov. 8,” she said.

Matt Finlay, managing director of the small equity firm Mid Mark Capital in Morristown, agreed with Glick that the overall discussion on Wednesday was as fun as it was thought-provoking.

“It was interesting to hear a New Jersey perspective on such a crazy, contentious national contest,” said Finlay. “I never really heard the whole Trump phenomenon talked about in such clear concise New Jersey terms.”