Sweeney Pledges to Keep Fighting for Bipartisanship, Affordability, Fiscal Responsibility and Reform
TRENTON – Today the longest serving Senate President in the state’s history, Steve Sweeney, adjourned the Senate and on Tuesday the Senate will reconvene with a new Senate President for the first time in six sessions. Senate President Sweeney reflected on his tenure as the second most powerful elected official for over a decade:
“Twelve years ago, I took the oath of office for the first time as Senate President, pledging to prioritize fiscal responsibility and economic growth. Now that I have concluded this stage of service I can look back in pride of the legislative progress and accomplishments we have made in this time. Public pension reform, the reverse auction for pharmacy benefits, elimination of cash bail, and the school regionalization initiative we are launching are lasting reforms that have saved and will continue to save the state and our taxpayers billions of dollars.”
Even with the sense of accomplishment Senate President Sweeney possesses for his record on creating more government efficiency, it is his work delivering for individuals with disabilities that remains his number-one passion. Sweeney stated:
“I was originally motivated to get into politics after my daughter Lauren was born prematurely with Down syndrome. She was a gift to me in so many ways. Twenty years later, as Senate President, I was able to make sure that all New Jersey parents had the same opportunity to be with their loved ones in their time of greatest need when the paid family leave bill I sponsored and fought for was signed into law.
“Providing for the needs of the disabilities community has continued to be a focus of my entire career in public life, and I am proud that this year we were finally able to make sure that the State met its statutory obligation to provide over 85 percent of the cost of Extraordinary Special Education for students with the greatest need, saving money for property taxpayers at the same time developmentally disabled students are offered equal educational opportunities.
“I know the disabilities community is worried that I am leaving, and I am grateful for the support they have provided all this time, I am confident that the work on behalf of the disabled and the fight for their rights will continue because I know that Senator Scutari will be picking up that mantle here in the Senate.”
Even after a decade-plus of service as Senate President, Steve Sweeney has made it clear he will continue to serve the public and remain engaged in the policies of importance. He may not now hold elected office, but he is not done serving the public or being a champion for good public policy.
“We have a long way to go to make New Jersey affordable and much more to do to make the lives of our residents more economically secure. We need to do more to cut the high cost of living in New Jersey, starting with the development of bold strategies to lower property taxes, promote economic growth and spur job creation so we can generate prosperity for all New Jerseyans. This is the cause that remains my commitment to progress and reforms. I may be stepping aside from the Senate Presidency, but I will step up to a new role with a voice that is just as strong. I am not going away.”
Senate President Sweeney then stepped down from the Senate Podium and on to the next stage of his career of public service.