He has been an integral part of the legislature for two decades and has served as Senate President for the past 12 years. But on Tuesday, Steve Sweeney said goodbye after his shocking loss to South Jersey truck driver and Republican freshman Edward Durr in the November election.
Unless he said he wasn’t going anywhere.
Focused on his mission
“Next, I’d like to start with a think tank, a public policy think tank that focuses on affordability,” he said.
A possible presidential candidacy?
Senate President Steve Sweeney and Governor Phil Murphy (left) discuss a millionaire tax settlement at the Trenton War Memorial on Thursday, September 17, 2020. (@ GovMurphy / Twitter)
He also indicated that a return to politics might not be ruled out, which could mean running for governor.
“I’ll keep working hard and whether it’s the Senate or possibly the Governor who knows. You know, four years is a long time, “he said.
“I think my future is what I want. I have many friends across the state and I still think I can be a voice, I have everyone’s cell phone number. “
“Right now we have the most expensive government in the country.”
The job isn’t done yet
He said he has been focusing on affordability and cost reduction in government for years, and progress has been made.
“The biggest challenge is getting people to be willing to look at things or do differently because right now we have the most expensive government in the country,” he said.
He noted that his home district of Gloucester is the only district in the state that has a district ambulance system, district tax assessment, and district 911 call system, which has saved taxpayers millions.
New Jersey Senate President Steve Sweeney will meet Eric Scott on March 27 at Studio 101.5, New Jersey. (Louis C. Hochman / Townsquare Media) “I’ve been in a Republic borough for 20 years.”
We can fix that
Sweeney said the same shared services approach can work in other parts of Garden State, “but it does mean you might have to take the city name off the side of the truck, and it doesn’t matter who the trash is as picks up “as long as it is picked up.”
“We don’t need all of these governing bodies and administrative burdens, but you need police on the street, you need firefighters, you need people to pick up the trash.”
The Democrat said he was surprised by the outcome of the election but emphasized, “I’ve been in a Republican district for 20 years.”
Let’s work together
He stressed that he always strives for a bipartisan approach that other Democrats sometimes disliked, but “I think we can only achieve meaningful things if we work together.”
When asked what he was most proud of while serving in the Senate, Sweeney said “saving the pension system from bankruptcy”.
“If we didn’t move forward and do something, it would go bankrupt by 2015,” he said.
Pride and remorse
He said he also takes pride in “focusing on affordability and fixing things; my work with the disabled community; I was a sponsor of the regional greenhouse gas initiative, the solar law, the offshore wind law, the minimum wage, paid family vacation, paid sick leave. I think we have achieved a lot, there are many things that I am very proud of. “
Sweeney said his biggest regret was that he didn’t push harder when the 2% property tax cap was introduced when Chris Christie was governor.
“I think a lot of people would like us to stop the tax hike. We slowed it down, but it’s still too expensive. ”Copyright: Governor’s Office, Tim Larsen
“I should have gone to zero because we are now living below the 2% ceiling, and if we had gone to zero we would have gotten to efficiency a lot faster,” he said.
“I think many would appreciate it if we could stop the tax hike. We slowed it down, but it’s still too expensive. “
He also said he still believes the state needs a new public worker pension system that should be negotiated with the unions “so we can afford to live here in New Jersey.”
You can reach reporter David Matthau at [email protected]
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