If you want to walk from Jay & Silent Bob’s Secret Stash in Red Bank to the Swimming River Park tonight, you’ve got to cross the Navesink River via the Front Street Bridge.
Starting sometime in mid-July, however, you’ll be traversing the Joseph M. Kyrillos Bridge.
The Monmouth County Board of Freeholders voted unanimously (5-0) this afternoon to rename the Front Street Bridge in honor of the longtime legislator, who was elected to the Assembly in 1988 and then served in the Senate from 1992 until his retirement this year. Over the senator’s nine terms, he earned a typically Republican reputation as a fiscal conservative, voting almost 150 times to reduce taxes and fees.
Less typical was his ability to work across the aisle and garner praise from Democratic legislators, who valued his emphasis on job creation and shore protection, as well as his affable personality and friendly manner.
“The dedication of this bridge in honor of Joe is only fitting as he helped secure an additional $7 million in funding to help the County complete its reconstruction in 2016,” Monmouth County freeholder Thomas Arnone told New Jersey Globe. “Joe has always been an outstanding supporter of County infrastructure projects and we cannot thank him enough for his service and commitment to Monmouth County residents.”
Kyrillos has kept busy since leaving Trenton.
The former Senator founded the consulting firm SK Partners, and remains affiliated with Newport Capital Group, a financial services firm, and Woodmont Properties, a regional real estate development company. He’s also a senior managing director of the global real estate services firm Newmark and chairs the advisory board of OceanFirst Bank.
Additionally, Kyrillos serves on the Board of Directors of Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield, a lofty perch that was arranged at least in part by outgoing Governor Chris Christie. The two-decade friendship between Christie and Kyrillos – so close at one time that the governor introduced the Senator to his eventual wife Susan and the Senator chaired the Governor’s campaigns – ran off the rails a bit during the 2016 presidential campaign when Kyrillos endorsed Jeb Bush instead of the Governor’s own run. The Horizon appointment – and some “I love you, man” bro talks—seem to have patched things up somewhat between the old friends.
In addition, Kyrillos is a trustee of the Monmouth Conservation Foundation and Monmouth Historic Association and serves on advisory boards for Lunch Break and the Count Basie Theater, where his son Max has been known to sit in on guitar with local heroes Brian Kirk and The Jirks.
A Monmouth-based source says that the driving force behind the renaming was Arnone, who was said to be motivated by “the long and close working relationship he had with Joe.”
With his many business and charitable engagements, Kyrillos hasn’t been as active in local, state or national politics as one might expect from a former GOP state chair who was a fixture in Monmouth County, a beloved presence in Trenton and even had a hand in national politics, having been a close Romney ally during the candidate’s 2008 and 2012 runs for president.
In addition to keeping in touch with the former governor and first lady, both Susan and Joe Kyrillos have been close to fellow Monmouth residents Phil and Tammy Murphy for over twenty years and remain in frequent contact. He also speaks to Senate Leader Sweeney and many local politicians.
In an age where political leaders mostly make headlines for scandals and aggravation, the good people of Monmouth County—maybe even including Jason Mewes and Kevin Smith—will now have reason to think about a long-serving, universally liked local leader who served the public faithfully.