Gov. Phil Murphy is promoting abortion rights as a reason companies should relocate to New Jersey from more restrictive states like Texas.

Murphy penned an op-ed that was published by the Houston Chronicle where he made a direct appeal to business in the Lone Star State.

"For Texas companies uncomfortable with the restrictive and anti-freedom posturing of elected officials," Murphy writes, "Instead of quietly figuring out ways to make end runs around state laws to provide abortion access to the women you employ, may I offer a solution: Come to New Jersey."

Murphy did tout other benefits of locating a business in New Jersey, such as Wallethub's Top Ten ranking of best places to raise a family and noting that Texas came in 34. New Jersey is first in education and offers billions in business incentives, Murphy wrote, but his biggest selling point was New Jersey's laws on reproductive rights.

"New Jersey is running forward, taking the opportunity to enshrine abortion rights and reproductive freedoms within our state laws," Murphy says, "Others, such as Texas, are running backward and falling over themselves in the process of stripping women of their individual rights and freedoms."

Businesses don’t exist just to return dividends to shareholders. Businesses are and must be influential leaders on behalf of those who actually make a business successful: their employees. The reckless actions of closed-minded lawmakers, ignorant and hostile to the rights of their constituents, have a direct impact on the ability of any business to recruit and retain high-quality talent. Silence is no longer a viable option. - NJ Gov. Phil Murphy/Houston Chronicle op-ed

Murphy argued that abortion rights are actually an important economic issue.

"In this economic and social climate, the value of locating a business where employee values are protected — along with their basic individual rights, freedoms and health — cannot be overstated," Murphy argued, "Businesses know that it is easier to recruit and retain top talent where employees can enjoy a high quality of life, greater opportunity and, yes, more personal freedom — including access to reproductive health care and abortion rights."

Murphy intends to send a letter to all of the major corporations in Texas, "asking them to consider the rights of their employees when making decisions about where to be located and how to use their corporate voice."

As someone who spent more than two decades in international business and finance, I understand that businesses make decisions on where to locate based on a host of factors. Value is one of them. But values is another. - NJ Gov. Phil Murphy/Houston Chronicle op-ed

As he takes over as chairman of the bi-partisan National Governor's Association, Murphy is setting a highly partisan tone with the op-ed touting progressive values that are not universally shared in much of middle America.

The letter also further adds to speculation that Murphy is considering a run for president in 2024.

Eric Scott is the senior political director and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at eric.scott@townsquaremedia.com

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