As Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean, Jr. (R-Union) prepares to work with his third Governor, Democrat Phil Murphy, some insiders believe he’ll like his job better. Kean had a strained relationship with Chris Christie, who tried to oust him two days after his re-election.
Christie’s failed coup created some resentment among some GOP Senators who didn’t like being pushed around. It also created a permanent rift between Christie and his onetime mentor, former Gov. Tom Kean, Sr.
In an address to the Senate today, the six-term Minority Leader called for greater bi-partisanship in 2018.
“We can send a message to the people of New Jersey that Trenton is not consumed by politics, that we’re working together to solve these problems,” Kean said. “Let’s start with bipartisan bills that address the impact of the federal tax reform of state property taxes and offer a bold solution on the minimum wage.”
Kean asked Democrats to include the fifteen Republican Senators in the process.
“Many of my Democrat colleagues in the State House have criticized the actions of single-party government in Washington. Well, you now face that same challenge in this state house. Your party controls both legislative chambers and the Governor’s office,” Kean told the Senate.
Kean became Minority Leader after the 2007 elections, when GOP Senators pushed Leonard Lance out.
Republicans picked up a Senate seat in Atlantic County last November, with Assemblyman Chris Brown ousting interim incumbent Colin Bell. But the GOP also lost two seats: Jennifer Beck (R-Monmouth) was unseated by Democrat Vin Gopal, and Troy Singleton succeeds Diane Allen (D-Burlington), who retired after twenty years in the Senate.