So as we've been saying for months, the pandemic is over. It was over before it started in some parts of the world where they refused to lockdown.

In the US, most governors and federal officials panicked at the doom and gloom predictions from people like Anthony Fauci. Millions would die if we didn't lock away the constitution and lock everyone down without regard for civil liberty. That is unless you were protesting cops and burning cities, then it was an accepted practice of your first amendment rights. Some calm voices stated correctly more than a year ago that the virus would flatten due to rapidly acquired herd immunity and the fact that many Americans had natural immunity. Those voices were silenced on social media and ridiculed by so-called journalists in corporate media. Voices from experts from Stanford, Harvard and Oxford, despite explaining in very scientific terms with the support of thousands of medical professionals, all silenced.

What's most interesting is those voices that countered the group-think panic that consumed our country and most of the word, were right. The masks did nothing, the virus was essentially only deadly to elderly people with compromised health to begin with, kids were proven to be largely unaffected by the virus and turns out they were simply not super-spreaders. Sadly, we can't go back and save the lives of the thousands who died after Murphy's administration, through his health commissioner Judy Persichilli, forced sick people back into long term care facilities exposing the most vulnerable in our population to a deadly virus that had the highest impact on the elderly and compromised.

We can't go back and save the lives of the teens who committed suicide after suffering depression and anxiety from isolation. We can't undo the harm caused to families and businesses resulting from lockdowns, mandates and gov't and media fueled panic. What we can do is move forward. We can ignore the governor as he tries to take credit for literally the worst and deadliest pandemic response in the country if not the world. We can take some credit for pushing back in a big way stopping the governor's plan to make the emergency powers that wrecked our economy permanent.

Now that the legislature finally said no, the governor has no choice but to end the remaining mandates. He'll credit the fact that half the state is vaccinated, but we know that the virus was essentially gone long before the vaccine was readily available. Remember that 6 out of 10 Americans are NOT vaccinated, yet life outside of NJ is essentially back to normal. The challenge is that "normal" in many states means, thriving businesses, low taxes, great roads, access to quality education and job opportunities.

Prior to the lockdown, you would have said that NJ had among the best education in the nation. Can we say that now? Teachers Unions, specifically the NJEA, seem to dictate policy and that has resulted in the highest property taxes in the nation. How many people are looking at retirement outside of NJ because they don't want to pay for a bloated education bureaucracy without any kids in school? How many parents are horrified at the curriculum that is being ushered in written by special interests, teaching sex and gender ideology in grade school? Too far for most normal people. Potholes, aging energy infrastructure, outdated and failing computer systems...all adding up to a state government that is broken.

When you add to this the governor's plan to spike your energy bills in the name of his own version of a "Green New Deal", it's no wonder why people are still looking for the exit. It's long past time to fix it. Over the next few months I'll be outlining some of the ideas that I think are critical to making NJ the prosperous, thriving place where people want to live, work and raise families. Tax incentives for businesses and a "reverse millionaires tax", plus shrinking government through attrition and modernizing services. Focusing on getting NJ government out of the way to spark entrepreneurship and keeping retirees here to contribute to the economy. Monetizing NJ Transit and streamlining our response to emergencies, how about we stop brining the roads when it's 44 degrees and raining?

Government does not have to be the enemy. But when you have a governor willing to sacrifice lives and livelihoods believing that the Bill of Rights is "above his pay grade", we have a crisis that needs to be resolved. Yes, it's time to fire Phil Murphy. But his replacement will have to be a leader, and a critical thinker who will not tow a partisan line but instead will stand up for working and middle class families and small businesses.

There's a half debate happening on Tuesday with two of the four candidates taking your questions on-air. Jack Ciattarelli, the pick of the back room partisan Republicans, and Hirsh Singh, who has characterized the race as a Trump vs. Never Trump battle. Following the 7 p.m. event, I'll be hosting an event for another candidate, Phil Rizzo, who jumped into the race late, but raised nearly three quarters of a million dollars in a few weeks. He's going to be answering my questions live on his Facebook and you can join live through his website, https://jerseyrizzo.com/. There is a fourth candidate, former Mayor Brian Levine. Although he is a qualified executive and a thoughtful guy, he hasn't raise money and simply hasn't gotten any traction.

For me, I joined the Rizzo team soon after he announced he was running and believe he is the right, independent voice who can turn our state around. Decide for yourself on Tuesday. Listen to Jack and Hirsh and then spend some time with me and Rizzo and let me know who you think is the strongest advocate for us. I'm #DigginIn, are you?

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Bill Spadea. Any opinions expressed are Bill's own. Bill Spadea is on the air weekdays from 6 to 10 a.m., talkin’ Jersey, taking your calls at 1-800-283-1015.

Average SAT scores for every NJ high school

Average scores for the 2019-2020 school year are listed by county, from highest to lowest.