By David Madden

TRENTON (CBS) — New Jersey Governor-elect Phil Murphy has tapped an appointee of outgoing Gov. Chris Christie to be his attorney general.

Gurbir Grewal will be the first Sikh-American to serve as attorney general anywhere in America if confirmed by the state Senate. He’s been the Bergen County prosecutor for the last two years.

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“Our state needs someone with a steel backbone who will not be afraid to stand up to President Trump and the Republican leadership in Congress to protect the rights and values of our state and of all 9 million of our residents,” Murphy told KYW Newsradio.

He also noted his pledge to ensure his administration is as diversified as possible.

Grewal insists it wasn’t easy to make the decision to take the job, given progress made on a number of fronts in Bergen County. Among the changes he says he’s made are protecting racial and ethnic minorities, providing greater transparency in law enforcement and addressing the opioid epidemic.

But then he talked to the governor-elect.

“These are all initiatives that I know the governor-elect shares,” Grewal said. “They are all initiatives and programs that are required to implement his vision for a safer, for a stronger, for a fairer New Jersey.”

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This appointment is the first cabinet level hire Murphy has made since last month’s election. He announced earlier that Lt. Governor-elect Sheila Oliver would serve as commissioner of the Department of Community Affairs.

Grewal’s selection is subject to Senate approval.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie issued a statement Tuesday regarding the proposed nomination:

“I commend Governor-elect Murphy on selecting Gurbir Grewal for nomination to be New Jersey’s next Attorney General. Gurbir’s intellect and experience is what attracted me to him and what led me to fight entrenched interests to make him Bergen County Prosecutor. I am sure it is those same qualities that attracted the Governor-elect to him as well. His tenure, almost without exception, has been exemplary. I am confident he has the skills necessary to be an Attorney General we can be proud of in New Jersey.”

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