Former Senator William “Bill” Schluter: 1927-2018

Former state Senator William “Bill” Schluter has died.

He was 90.

Senator Schluter served in the Legislature between 1967 and 2001, and had a reputation as a fierce public advocate consumed by government reform. Infuriated by “soft corruption,” he wrote a book on the subject.

Born in Bronxville, New York, Senator Schluter graduated from Princeton University and started his political career in 1963 as a Pennington Councilman. First elected to the General Assembly in 1967, he became a senator in 1971. Defeated in 1973, the Republican lawmaker returned to the Assembly in 1987 and regained the senate seat in 1991. Losing an independent bid for governor after redistricting separated him from his district base, Senator Schulter remained an eminently quotable and accessible New Jersey elder statesman, impassioned on the subject of reform.

“Powerful business-related lobbies often sponsor lavish entertainment events to which they invite legislators and other government officials. The relationships that take place at these venues are cozy and often clandestine. Opportunities are afforded lobbyists to gain the favor of and consummate deals with government lawmakers, deals that are both good and bad,” Schluter wrote in his book.

“Bill Schluter epitomized public service in New Jersey,” U.S. Rep. Leonard Lance (R-7) said today. “A person of impeccable integrity, he significantly raised the ethical standards of our State Legislature.  A fine hockey player in his youth at Exeter and Princeton, he was the consummate gentlemen on the playing field of life.  I have lost a close friend and political mentor.  Heidi and I extend our deepest sympathy to Nancy, his wonderful wife of 68 years, to their six children and to their many grandchildren.”

Senate Minority Leader Kean said in a statement that “Senator Schluter was everything a true public servant should be. He held his Legislative colleagues to a very high ethical standard – a bar he never failed to meet. He was a courageous leader in the fight for good government reform. There is no question that we are a better off as a state because of his advocacy. My heart goes out to Bill’s family and friends, and all those who are mourning this tremendous loss.”

Senate President Sweeney released a statement saying that “over the span of more than three decades, Senator Schluter served in the Assembly and the Senate with honor and distinction. He believed in the value of public service, he put progress ahead of partisanship and he was always willing to work with others with the selfless goals that served the needs of the public.   He was a passionate advocate for ethical conduct in political life and a dedicated public servant. Senator Schluter represented what all of us who enter elected office aspire to be – honest and committed to making government work efficiently and effectively for all citizens.”

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2 responses to “Former Senator William “Bill” Schluter: 1927-2018”

  1. RIP Senator Schluter. He spent much of his later life on a campaign against corruption in NJ politics. His book Soft Corruption lays out NJ’s corruption problem beautifully. It is too bad that he didn’t live to see NJ get to a better place politically. And, as long as political bosses like Norcross and DiVincenzo and their lackeys, like Sweeney, run things NJ never will get to a better place politically. I hope someone can pick up where Schluter left off.

  2. RIP my long time friend. You were a model public servant and a great human being. You never compromised your morals or convictions and truly worked to improve the state. God bless you.

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