TRENTON – Senate Majority Leader Bernard F. Kenny Jr. today announced his decision to retire from the Senate when his current term is finished next January.
“When I complete this term, I will have served in the Legislature for 20 years,” said the Hudson County Democrat. “It’s been an honor to serve in both the Assembly and in the Senate and to have been chosen by my colleagues as their Majority Leader. Hopefully, the people of the 33rd District have realized an improved quality to their lives during my time in the Legislature.
“Over the course of my public career, I have learned that in order to achieve a positive end result, it is necessary to seek consensus on both sides of the aisle,” Senator Kenny said. “I have tried to act on that belief in my various leadership roles.”
Key measures sponsored by Senator Kenny include laws to create positions of Comptroller and Inspector General, to expand public membership of both executive and legislative ethics commissions and establish the New Jersey Cultural Trust.
In Senator Kenny’s home town of Hoboken, development has boomed in recent years as it has too along the waterfront in Jersey City where companies have relocated in significant numbers from New York City. The Senate Majority Leader has been at the forefront of efforts to attract ratables to the 33rd District and throughout Hudson County through economic initiatives, particularly the Business Employment Incentive Program.
Throughout his legislative career, Senator Kenny has been concerned with issues affecting taxpayers and consumers, especially those subjected to the decisions of large companies. In 1988, his first year in the Assembly, he co-sponsored the law that prevents utility companies from passing on to their customers, through higher rates, any losses they have incurred from fines or penalties.
Senator Kenny also has fought to assure increased funding for arts, cultural programs and the restoration of parks and playgrounds in fully developed communities and urban centers. He was instrumental in efforts to save and develop Ellis Island.
A graduate of the Delbarton School, the University of Pennsylvania and Fordham University School of Law, Senator Kenny is a partner in the law firm of Florio and Kenny. He and his wife, Roberta, have three children.
After first serving in the Assembly, he rose to the Senate when he was selected to fill the vacancy created when Senator Robert Menendez was elected to Congress in 1992. Senator Kenny was elected to his first Senate term in November of 1993.
Senator Kenny said he would focus, during his final year in the Senate, on implementing the budget reforms announced last month to develop a final budget that is both “transparent and fair to taxpayers.”
An expert on the State budget, Senator Kenny was chosen as Chairman earlier this year of the Senate Budget & Appropriations Committee after serving for many years as the panel’s ranking minority member.
Senator Kenny said it was premature to announce any post-Senate activities. But he said he planned to stay active in public life.
“I want to have the time to find other ways to serve,” Senator Kenny said. “My basic motive has always been to serve the public and my life’s activities will continue in that realm.”