Home>Campaigns>Thompson slams ageism, says he still fulfills Senate duties

State Sen. Samuel Thompson. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for New Jersey Globe)

Thompson slams ageism, says he still fulfills Senate duties

87-year-old Republican bemoans primary challenge based in his age

By David Wildstein, February 02 2023 5:22 pm

An 87-year-old lawmaker seeking re-election to a four-year term this year took to the Senate floor today to slam allegations that his age ought to force him into retirement.

State Sen. Samuel Thompson (R-Old Bridge) will face a primary challenge from Old Bridge Mayor Owen Henry, who was encouraged to run by Republican leaders in the 12th legislative district.

“I’ve been advised that I am going to have a primary this year.  That’s no surprise.  It doesn’t disturb me at all,” Thompson said.  “What does disturb me is the reason being given for this primary that I am too old.  Age is something that comes to all of us.”

Thompson has held the solidly-Republican Senate seat for more than eleven years and defended his ability to run again in a race that would keep him in office until he is 92.

“It is not asserted that I have lost my mental acuity or I’m not physically fit, but simply that I am too old,” Thompson said.  “No one has charged that I have been remiss in my duties or responsibilities.  I’ve been there 365 days a year, nine to 5 five,  Monday through Friday, any time available to my constituents.”

Henry told the New Jersey Globe this week that he will not make Thompson’s age a campaign issue.  But party leaders who tried unsuccessfully to convince Thompson not to run cited his age as the reason they oppose his candidacy.

Thompson said he has personally helped more than 35,000 constituents during his nearly 24 years in the New Jersey Legislature.

“But it is asserted that I am too old.  As I say, nobody questions my mental acuity or my physical fitness,” he said.  “It is against the law for age discrimination, and I resent it so much.”

The Republican senator also took offense to the failure of his fellow senators to come to his defense.

“None of my friends or colleagues or anyone else has asserted my age has not caused me to fall back and not fulfill my responsibilities.  I do feel deserted that my friends and my colleagues have not responded to this assertion,” Thompson stated.  “I would appreciate anyone who wants to speak up on this or any time.”

No one took Thompson up on his request.

Then Thompson closed his remarks by saying, “thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.”

The presiding officer, Senate President Nicholas Scutari, deflected Thompson’s allegation of ageism to the Republicans.

“Senator, I can tell you, I don’t think anybody on this side of the aisle has anything to do with it,” Scutari said.

Spread the news: