New Jersey's 21st Legislative District

Senator Tom Kean, Jr.

  • Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean speaking at the reorganization of the New Jersey Senate at the State House on January 9, 2018. (Full Story)

  • Sen. Tom Kean and Sen. Diane Allen visited the Alice Paul Institute in Mt. Laurel on April 28, 2016 to discuss the importance of legislation they sponsor to boost charitable giving to New Jersey’s non-profits and provide tax relief to state residents. (Full Story)

  • Sen. Tom Kean speaking during a visit with Sen. Diane Allen to the Alice Paul Institute in Mt. Laurel on April 28, 2016 to discuss the importance of legislation they sponsor to boost charitable giving to New Jersey’s non-profits and provide tax relief to state residents. (Full Story)

  • Sen. Tom Kean and Sen. Steven Oroho toured Project Self-Sufficiency of Sussex County on March 21, 2016. (Full Story)

  • Sen. Tom Kean was presented with the 2015 Humane State Legislator Award by Kathleen Schatzmann, New Jersey Senior State Director for the Humane Society on March 14, 2016. (Full Story)

  • Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean and Sen. Jennifer Beck visited the Boys & Girls Club of Monmouth County in Asbury Park on March 8, 2016 to highlight legislation to help non-profits and charities. (Full Story)

  • Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean and Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick announced opposition to Democrat-proposed constitutional amendments that would lock in automatic tax increases and diminish voter influence in rigged New Jersey legislative elections. (Full Story)

  • Sen. Tom Kean and Sen. Jennifer Beck served as judges for the AT&T Civic App Challenge, a two-month hackathon to develop mobile applications that meet a community need. (Full Story)

  • Sen. Tom Kean (left) attended the groundbreaking of NJIT’s $19 million world-class life sciences and engineering facility, designed to foster revolutionary research and high quality instruction, funded in part through Kean’s ‘Building Our Future Bond Act.’ (Full Story)

  • Sen. Kean tours the Cape May Brewing Company’s new facilities while promoting three new bipartisan jobs bills to support NJ’s rapidly-growing craft brewing industry. (Full Story)

Senator Tom Kean

Now Law: Kean Bill Ensuring Public Employees Can Volunteer as Emergency Responders During Retirement

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Governor Phil Murphy has signed legislation sponsored by Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean (R-21) that will ensure public employees can continue to volunteer as EMTs or firefighters after the retire from public service.

Gov. Phil Murphy has signed Sen. Tom Kean’s bill to ensure public employees can continue to volunteer as emergency first responders after the retire from public service. (Flickr)

“This legislation is personal for me,” Senator Kean said. “I was a volunteer firefighter and EMT for many years. I saw the passion and dedication my fellow volunteers had for serving their community. If they are able and willing, there is no reason why we shouldn’t encourage these first responders to continue protecting their neighbors after they retire.”

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Senator Tom Kean

Now Law: Kean Effort to Help NJ College Students Graduate on Time

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Governor Phil Murphy has signed legislation sponsored by Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean to help New Jersey college students graduate on time, by directing college campuses to encourage students to enroll in 30 credits per year.

Gov. Phil Murphy signed Sen. Tom Kean’s bill to help NJ college students graduate on time, by directing college campuses to encourage students to enroll in 30 credits per year. (Pixabay)

“We want our college students to have the motivation to shoot for the moon from the moment they first arrive on campus,” Senator Kean (R-21) said. “Studies show that students who enroll in 15 credits, instead of taking the bare minimum, are more likely to graduate on time. This law will encourage them to take that leap. We are blessed with some of the best and brightest young people in the country and we will continue to do everything we can to support them as they pursue a college degree or career.”

Kean’s legislation, S-767, directs the Secretary of Higher Education to establish a communications campaign, including billboards, brochures, and electronic resources, to encourage students to enroll in 30 credits per years.

The bill also directs that those communications must reach students directly during course registration for the academic semester, and requires institutions of higher education to report to the secretary on strategies and incentives to accomplish this goal.

According to a study from Columbia University, college students who enroll in 15 credits in their first semester are more likely to graduate, and graduate on time, than students who only take the minimum of 12 credits that’s necessary to be considered a full-time student for federal financial aid.

S-767 is part of a package of bills sponsored by Senator Kean, and legislators on both sides of the aisle, to address the crisis of college affordability in New Jersey.

“Too many college students are graduating with six-figures of debt, wondering how they’ll ever pay it off,” Senator Kean, a longtime member of the Senate Higher Education Committee said. “As we work to bring the cost of college down, we also have to do a much better job at giving these kids, and their families, the tools and information they need to make smart choices about their future. S-767 will help us do that. I am glad to see it signed into law today.”

Senator Tom Kean

Kean Statement on NJ Transit Hearing

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Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean released the following statement on today’s NJ Transit Legislative hearing and Gov. Murphy’s announcement regarding lifting residency requirements for “mission critical” NJ transit employees.

Senator Tom Kean comments on the Aug. 16, 2018 NJ Transit hearing and Gov. Murphy’s announcement regarding lifting residency requirements for NJ transit employees. (SenateNJ.com)

“I appreciate the fact that NJ Transit Executive Director Kevin Corbett, the DOT Commissioner, and others were willing to come and testify before us today. It was refreshing to hear these officials acknowledge the pain and suffering our commuters are going through,” Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean (R-21) said.

“We know now, from multiple summers of hell, that one person taking an unplanned vacation day can shut down an entire train line. The staffing issues at NJ transit are extremely problematic. Individual choices are impacting thousands of lives.

“I am glad to see that Kevin Corbett and Governor Murphy agree with me, that we need to lift residency requirements and expand the pool of hires. This is a solution I have spent years advocating for. I hope that Legislative leaders will also consider expanding this effort to include all types of public employees, as I have proposed. There is no reason not to bring the best and brightest candidates to New Jersey. In the meantime, we need to pass this limited exemption immediately.

“Everyone knows the old saying, ‘we train them and they leave.’ We hear it from business owners all the time. Why not lift this rule and grab highly trained candidates from other states while we can? This is a crisis. Commuters need us to use every tool at our disposal to solve it.

“Executive Director Corbett is right – there is no magic wand of silver bullet, but there are certainly steps we can take right now to get this agency back to where it needs to be.

“We will continue to fight alongside each other, regardless of party, to make sure our commuters have a safe, reliable and accessible way to get to work on time.”

Senator Tom Kean

SIGNED: Kean Bill Allowing Out-of-State Licenses to Be Used in NJ

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Governor Phil Murphy has signed legislation sponsored by Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean to allow out-of-state workers who have suffered through a catastrophic event or natural disaster to use their professional licenses in New Jersey.

Governor Phil Murphy has signed Sen. Tom Kean’s bill to allow out-of-state workers to use their professional licenses in New Jersey. The law will help workers who have suffered through a natural disaster or catastrophic event and relocate to NJ. (SenateNJ.com)

“We need to do more to attract highly-trained professionals to New Jersey. Forcing someone to reapply for a license they already have is an unnecessary barrier to employment, particularly for innovative entrepreneurs and people who are self-employed. That’s exactly the kind of worker we want to move here. Let’s not drive them away,” Senator Kean (R-21) said. “Allowing these folks to use an out-of-state license in New Jersey is a commonsense way to grow our economy, and it’s something that many other states already do. I look forward to seeing the positive impact of this legislation for years to come.”

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Senator Tom Kean

Kean: NJ Transit, State Leaders Must Address Engineer Shortage ASAP to Keep Commuters Safe

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In light of recent reports, Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean (R-Union, Somerset, Morris) is urging NJ Transit and State leaders to work together to immediately address the engineer shortage at the troubled agency.

Sen. Tom Kean is urging NJ Transit and State leaders to work together to immediately address ongoing problems at the troubled agency, including a catastrophic engineer shortage. (SenateNJ.com)

“More than a year ago, I spoke out publicly at our Legislative Oversight hearings on the need for NJ Transit, public sector unions, and State government leaders to work together to develop solutions to the catastrophic staffing shortages that continue to put thousands of commuters in harm’s way,” Senator Kean said. “It is no surprise that customers are facing a ‘summer of hell part two.’ We’ve known about staffing shortages for quite a while. What is surprising, is that next to nothing has been done to address this crisis.

“This is not a problem that NJ Transit can solve alone – clearly, there are additional steps previous administrations could have taken, and Governor Murphy must be much more aggressive on this front as well. Additionally, my Legislative colleagues and I have proposed a number solutions, such as allowing out-of-state residents to apply for State jobs. Being a rail engineer requires a very specific skill set. We need to expand the pool of potential hires immediately and the best way to do that is to pass legislation I sponsor that would allow us to consider out-of-state applicants.

“Despite what has been recently said in the public arena, New Jersey Republicans have been very vocal advocates for NJ Transit commuters. My colleagues and I have repeatedly advocated for projects such as the Gateway Tunnel, securing one-seat rides, and Port Authority Reform. To say that we have been silent on this issue is just not factual.

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Senator Tom Kean

Statement from Sen. Kean on Recommendations of Economic and Fiscal Policy Group

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Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean issued the following statement in response to the recommendations issued by the Economic and Fiscal Policy Group:

Sen. Tom Kean said he’s confident legislators can work together in a bipartisan fashion to accomplish many of the reforms proposed by the Economic and Fiscal Policy Group. (Pixabay)

“I’m glad that the bipartisan Economic and Fiscal Policy Group has recognized the serious long-term fiscal challenges that Senate Republicans have fought for years to resolve for New Jersey taxpayers.

“The members of our caucus have long championed legislative initiatives that are similar to many of the group’s recommendations, including my proposals to create a new tax deduction for charitable contributions to the non-profits that serve our communities and to look at the efficiencies of county and local governments.

“I’m confident that we can work together in a bipartisan fashion on many of these reforms for the betterment of the people of New Jersey.”

Senator Tom Kean

Kean Statement on Passing of Sen. Bill Schluter

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Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean released the following statement on the death of former Senator Bill Schluter, who passed away this morning at the age of 90.

Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean said Sen. Bill Schluter was everything a public servant should be. Sen. Schluter passed away on Aug. 6, 2018, at the age of 90. (SenateNJ.com)

“Senator Schluter was everything a true public servant should be. He held his Legislative colleagues to a very high ethical standard – a bar he never failed to meet. He was a courageous leader in the fight for good government reform. There is no question that we are a better off as a state because of his advocacy. My heart goes out to Bill’s family and friends, and all those who are mourning this tremendous loss.”

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Senator Tom Kean

Kean: Murphy’s “Free” Community College Pilot Program to Cost NJ Taxpayers $20 Million

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Says Misguided Scheme Fails to Address Underlying Problems That Are Driving Tuition Bills Higher

Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean said that a pilot program announced by the Murphy Administration that would shift the cost of tuition and fees for some community college students to New Jersey taxpayers is misguided and unaffordable.

Sen. Tom Kean said a ‘free’ community college pilot program announced by Gov. Phil Murphy will cost New Jersey taxpayers $20 million. (Flickr)

“Free community college sounds great, but nothing is really free,” said Kean. “The Governor’s plan simply shifts $20 million of tuition costs for a handful of students to New Jersey taxpayers who are already overburdened. It’s a huge and unnecessary expense that the State cannot afford to assume.”

Kean warned that the $20 million cost of the pilot program could become an annual expense of $200 million to $400 million if the program is fully implemented statewide.

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Senator Tom Kean

Kean: Murphy’s Diversion of NJ Transit Capital Funds is the Height of Hypocrisy

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Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean released the following statement, in light of today’s news that the Murphy Administration has authorized New Jersey Transit to divert $511 million in capital funds to pay for operational costs.

Sen. Tom Kean said he was deeply disappointed to see Gov. Murphy divert NJ Transit capital funds, calling it the height of hypocrisy. (SenateNJ.com)

“Governor Murphy swore to commuters that he would fix New Jersey Transit, without relying on financially-unsustainable practices. Today he broke that promise. His decision to use capital funds to cover up his complete inability to manage money is misguided.

“Governor Murphy is using the very same practices that he campaigned against, by diverting money from the Clean Energy Fund, the Turnpike Authority and now, New Jersey Transit’s capital funds to plug holes in his budget.

“New Jersey Transit’s capital budget should be used to make essential investments and expand services that benefit our commuters, such as one-seat rides. As someone who represents thousands of commuters, I am deeply disappointed to see Governor Murphy make the same mistakes that got us into this mess in the first place. I will continue to be a vocal advocate for ensuring people have a safe, easy and affordable way to get to work.”

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Senator Tom Kean

Weinberg, Kean: Port Authority Bus Terminal Expansion on Track with Bi-State Support

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Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg (D-Bergen) and Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean (R-Union) today expressed optimism about the progress made on plans for the expansion of the Port Authority Bus Terminal and on the support for the project expressed by New York officials and community leaders.

Sen. Loretta Weinberg and Sen. Tom Kean expressed optimism about the progress made on plans for the expansion of the Port Authority Bus Terminal. (Flickr)

“While no decision will be made until the final Environmental Impact Study of various options is completed, it is clear that New York and New Jersey officials are on the same page in our support for the ‘build in place’ plan that would add two floors to the existing Port Authority Bus Terminal,” said Senator Weinberg.

“Expanding the existing Port Authority Bus Terminal would preserve a one-seat bus ride for New Jersey commuters while providing increased capacity to support rapidly growing demand,” said Senator Kean. “Now that there seems to be a general consensus that this is the right approach to pursue, we should not waste time in proceeding after so many delays.”

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