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Rep. Tom Kean. (Photo: Office of Rep. Tom Kean).

Kean joins Problem Solvers Caucus

Freshman N.J. congressman signs on to bipartisan House group

By David Wildstein, March 08 2023 9:23 am

Freshman Rep. Tom Kean, Jr. (R-Westfield) has joined the House Problem Solvers Caucus, a bipartisan group of lawmakers that played an increasingly important role in the last Congress to find common ground between both parties on significant legislation.

“I joined the Problem Solvers Caucus to help find solutions for families and businesses in New Jersey,” said Kean.  “Every day of gridlock in Washington is another day that issues impacting my constituents at home go unaddressed.

Kean is the third consecutive congressman from New Jersey’s 7th district to join the caucus, following Reps. Leonard Lance (R-Clinton Township) and Tom Malinowski (D-Ringoes).

The consensus-building Problem Solvers Caucus was founded by Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-Wyckoff) after his election to Congress in 2016.  The caucus has set limits on membership, and getting a seat is considered a competitive process.

Still, with Gottheimer at the helm, New Jersey has clawed back four seats.  Reps. Christopher Smith (R-Manchester), a conservative, and Donald Norcross (D-Camden), the vice chair of the House Progressive Caucus, serve on the Problem Solvers Caucus.

“Last Congress, from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill and the CHIPs Act to historic gun safety legislation, the Problem Solvers Caucus helped enact meaningful legislation to move the nation forward,” stated Gottheimer, the Democratic co-chair.  “As the size and strength of the new PSC class shows, it’s clear that there is growing enthusiasm to break through the gridlock and get things done. This is all about putting commonsense over extremism, |

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has given the five competing House caucuses, groups that frequently disagree on, seats at his leadership table, including Problem Solvers Caucus Republican Co-Chair Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pennsylvania).   McCarthy has informally dubbed the groups, which also include the Freedom Caucus, Republican Study Committee, Republican Main Street Caucus, and the Republican Governance Group, the Five Families, a reference to the Godfather movie.

Hakeem Jeffries, the new House Minority Leader, has also given Gottheimer and the Problem Solvers Caucus a seat in his own inner circle, which includes key progressive Democrats.

“This Congress needs to lead in a time when partisan gridlock often derails progress,” Kean said.  “I look forward to working with the Problem Solvers Caucus to find common sense solutions to cut inflation, build a 21st-century economy that promotes innovation, and keep our communities safe.”

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