|President of the "New Jersey Senate|
January 12, 2010
|Preceded by||"Richard Codey|
|Majority Leader of the "New Jersey Senate|
January 8, 2008 – January 12, 2010
|Preceded by||"Bernard Kenny|
|Succeeded by||"Barbara Buono|
|Member of the "New Jersey Senate
from the 3rd district
January 8, 2002
|Preceded by||"Raymond Zane|
June 11, 1959 |
"Camden, "New Jersey, "U.S.
Stephen M. "Steve" Sweeney (born June 11, 1959) is an American executive, political power broker, and "Democratic Party politician who currently serves as the "President of the New Jersey Senate. He has served in the "New Jersey "State Senate since 2002, where he represents the "3rd Legislative District. On November 23, 2009, Sweeney was selected as Senate President-designate, replacing former Gov. "Richard Codey.
A Union "Ironworker by trade, Sweeney is frequently cited as the most powerful elected Democrat in "New Jersey. Sweeney was ranked #4 by NJBIZ in their 2015 "Power 100" rankings of the most influential people statewide, and was ranked #4 by "PolitickerNJ in their most recent annual ranking of the state's most powerful elected officials.
"Institutional Investor Magazine ranked Sweeney #12 nationwide on their "2017 Political Pension Power 25" list, ahead of figures such as financier "Paul Singer and AFL-CIO President "Richard Trumka.
He was widely considered to be a top contender for the "2017 gubernatorial election to succeed Governor "Chris Christie. On October 6, 2016, Sweeney announced his intention not to run for the Democratic nomination for governor in 2017.
Sweeney took office as Senate President on January 12, 2010.
Sweeney was born on June 11, 1959 in "Camden, New Jersey and graduated from "Pennsauken High School in 1977. He then joined Ironworkers Local 399 (of "Camden, N.J.) and gained "journeyman status on January 1, 1980. Sweeney currently serves as General Vice President of the "International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Iron Workers.
Sweeney served on the "Gloucester County "Board of Chosen Freeholders, a post he held since 1997, and served as the Freeholder Director from January 6, 2006, until he left office in 2010. During that period of time he simultaneously held a seat in the New Jersey Senate and as Freeholder, a practice known as ""double dipping" that was allowed under a grandfather clause in the state law enacted by the "New Jersey Legislature and signed into law by former "Governor of New Jersey "Jon Corzine in September 2007 that prevents dual-office-holding but allows those who had held both positions as of February 1, 2008, to retain both posts.
Sweeney defeated eight-term Republican incumbent "State Senator "Raymond Zane 51%-49%. The race was the most expensive legislative race in New Jersey history at the time, totaling $2.4 million, with Sweeney spending an individual record $1.8 million to triple Zane's spending of $624,000. The record stood until 2003, when $4 million was spent in "Fred H. Madden's successful race to unseat "George Geist.
Sweeney won re-election to a second term defeating Phillip Rhudy 54%-45%.
Sweeney won re-election to a third term defeating Mark Cimino 57%-40%.
Sweeney won re-election to a fourth term defeating Michael Mulligan 56%-44%.
Sweeney won re-election to a sixth term in the most expensive legislative election in American History, defeating Salem County Republican Chairman Fran Grenier in the largest electoral victory of his career, 59%-41%. In a widely-criticized move, the New Jersey Education Association spent millions against Sweeney and backed a pro-Trump Republican, despite the organization's traditionally progressive roots, due to policy disagreements with the Senate President over pension funding obligations.
Sweeney sponsored a 2002 law allowing municipalities and other public entities beginning a construction project to enter into a "Project Labor Agreement (PLA), an agreement that establishes the terms and conditions of employment and prohibits the use of strikes and lockouts, which can save money by reducing cost overruns and work stoppages, and contribute to decreased labor unrest.
A 2005 law Sweeney sponsored enabled the "Delaware River and Bay Authority to establish an "ethanol plant in "Southern New Jersey, the first of its kind in any of the "Mid-Atlantic states, a project intended to create jobs for South Jersey and supply a new market for farmers in the region.
In response to heightened security warnings around potential targets such as chemical and nuclear plants since the "September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks that destroyed the "World Trade Center, Senator Sweeney pushed to require potentially vulnerable facilities to implement security standards and to explore possible safer technologies. He also sponsored legislation which would allow security guards at nuclear plants to carry assault weapons and high-powered ammunition to better protect the security of New Jersey residents. The bill, which was signed into law in September 2003, requires guards to undergo mandated training in the use of the firearms before getting access to the weapons.
Legislation sponsored by Sweeney and signed into law provides state pensions to surviving family members of police, firefighters and emergency services workers who die in the line of duty, as well as the law that removes the remarriage prohibition to receive death benefits for spouses of police officers and firefighters killed while serving the public good. Senator Sweeney also co-sponsored the law providing health benefits to "New Jersey National Guard members who serve for 30 days or more on state active duty.
On June 1, 2006, Senator Sweeney and two Assembly Democrats, "Paul Moriarty (D, "4th legislative district) and "Jerry Green (D, "22nd legislative district), held a press conference to announce their support for cuts of as much as 15% to New Jersey state worker salaries and benefits, as part of an effort to avoid a one-point increase in the state's sales tax proposed by "Governor of New Jersey "Jon Corzine that had been supported by unions representing state government workers. He also advocated that those workers affected by the state shutdown in July 2006 should not be able to collect pay for the time they were furloughed, saying that he would have voted to reject the budget if he had known that state workers would be paid for the time they were not working.
Sweeney sponsored "Maggie's Law," which establishes driving while seriously fatigued as a form of driver recklessness. The first law of its kind in the United States, "Maggie's Law" was signed by "Governor of New Jersey "Jim McGreevey in August 2003. It requires that "sleep deprived drivers, who have been up for 24 hours or more, face up to 10 years in jail and fines up to $150,000 if they get into fatal car accidents caused by their lack of sleep. Senator Sweeney first pursued the legislation when he was contacted by the mother of Maggie McDonnell, a Washington Township resident who was killed in a car accident by a driver who had been up for over 30 hours without sleeping.
A long-time advocate for individuals with developmental disabilities, Senator Sweeney has sponsored laws that removed references to “retardation” in state statutes and created a statewide registry of offenders who abused individuals with developmental disabilities.
Sweeney has sponsored legislation to expand the development of offshore wind energy, making New Jersey a leader in the development of this alternative energy source and paving the way for the state to become the nation’s wind-energy manufacturing hub.
Senator Sweeney was selected by the Senate Democratic Caucus to serve as Majority Leader on November 8, 2007
On the afternoon of November 23, 2009, the New Jersey Senate Democrats chose Sweeney as State Senate President over the incumbent, former governor "Richard Codey. He took office on January 12, 2010. In the absence of the governor and lieutenant governor, Sweeney served as acting governor of New Jersey during the eastern seaboard storm of December 2010.
In January 2010, Senate President-elect Sweeney abstained when the New Jersey Senate voted on the question of allowing same-sex couples to marry. Sweeney called his abstention a mistake and said that the issue was a civil rights issue, not a religious issue. In 2012, Senate President Sweeney was one of the prime sponsors of legislation that would legalize "same-sex marriage for all New Jersey residents. The bill was approved in both houses of the Legislature, but ultimately vetoed by Governor "Chris Christie, who instead favors putting the issue up for public referendum.
In 2010, Senator Sweeney helped design and pass thirty bills, known collectively as “Back to Work NJ,” that aimed to help create jobs and economic growth in New Jersey.
In 2011, Sweeney proposed sweeping reforms to the public employee pension and health benefits systems that he estimates will save taxpayers over $120 billion over a 30-year period. Sweeney also helped craft the state’s two-percent property tax cap in order to control rising property taxes. Senator Sweeney was named as a “Politician Who’s Ahead of the Curve” by "Philadelphia Magazine in 2011 for his continued support of shared services between local government units.
Together with Republican "Thomas Kean, Jr. and fellow Democrat "Raymond Lesniak, Sweeney sponsored Senate Bill S2664, the "Market Competition and Consumer Choice Act" in 2011, which Verizon says will encourage the firm to create additional jobs in the state, freeing the firm from regulations established when it was the landline monopoly requiring it to pay for service outages and to provide "Government-access television (GATV) channels for municipalities on "cable TV. The "New Jersey State League of Municipalities has opposed the provisions on elimination of "Public-access television channels and on rules requiring free Internet accessed for municipal and school facilities. Consumer groups argue that the bill would lead to lower-quality service and increased rates, though Verizon promised in a letter sent to the bill's sponsors that committed the company to keeping rates level for basic service in the first two years following approval into law.
Following Governor Christie's use of the "line item veto on the state's 2011 budget, Sweeney was quoted by "The Star-Ledger as being incensed. Two days later, Sweeney was unapologetic about what "The Star-Ledger described as a "tirade" against Christie, saying "[...] I don't apologize for it. The governor was wrong to hurt people," in response to further questions about the earlier reports which quoted him as describing Christie as a "rotten bastard," a "punk," and "Mr. Potter from It's a Wonderful Life." Among the Governor's cuts was funding for tax credits and health care for the working poor, women's health funding, AIDS medication funding, and mental health services.
In January 2013, two months after "Hurricane Sandy hit New Jersey, Sweeney suggested that Governor Christie "got lucky" because the hurricane had distracted voters from "New Jersey's slow economic recovery, an issue that many political observers believed was a potential point of weakness for Christie. He was heavily criticized for his remark, and a spokesman for Christie called it "politics at its worst".
Before "New Jersey's 2010 creation of the "Lieutenant Governor position, Sweeney often served as New Jersey's Acting Governor by virtue of his position as Senate President. As a presiding officer, Sweeney also receives protection from the "New Jersey State Police's Executive Protection Unit.
In March 2015, a group of pro-gun activists began pushing for a "recall of Sweeney. The organization, known as 'Recall Steve Sweeney', was led by the New Jersey Second Amendment Society which expressed displeasure with Sweeney's record on "gun control legislation. The group's first attempt at filing petitions in March were denied by the state for lacking additional certifications. A second attempt is ongoing. For a recall election to happen, the group must collect valid signatures from 25% of the 3rd district's registered voters, or 34,808 signatures in a time frame of 160 days.
Sweeney is actively involved in a variety of local service and non-profit organizations and has received numerous accolades from business leaders, volunteer organizations, labor advocates, environmentalists and other important organizations from around "New Jersey. He is especially committed to supporting and advocating for those with developmental disabilities—Sweeney's daughter, Lauren, was born prematurely with "Down syndrome. Sweeney often credits his daughter with prompting his entry in to politics.
Some awards include the 2009 Partners in Advocacy Award from the Arc of New Jersey and the 2009 Legislative Excellence Award from the New Jersey Council of County Colleges. In April 2010, Senator Sweeney was honored by the New Jersey Travel Industry Association with their Friend of Tourism Award. Senate President Sweeney was also presented the Outstanding State Legislator Award by the NJ "Veterans of Foreign Wars in January 2011. On April 28, 2011, Senator Sweeney was presented with the Legislator of the Year Award by the New Jersey Conference of Mayors. Senator Sweeney was also honored in 2011 as “Person of the Year” by the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the Construction Managers Association of America (CMAA). In 2011, he was named as a “Legislator of the Year” by the New Jersey State Chamber of Commerce, as well as the Constitutional Officers Association of New Jersey. On September 22, 2011, Senator Sweeney was honored as “Regional Leader of the Year” by the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission. In December 2011, Senator Sweeney was honored with the “"Paul L. Troast Public Service Award” by the NJ Business and Industry Association for his efforts to help spur economic growth and job creation in New Jersey, and on March 30, 2012, he was awarded the “Humanitarian Award” by the Boys and Girls Clubs of New Jersey.
Each of the 40 districts in the New Jersey Legislature has one representative in the "New Jersey Senate and two members in the "New Jersey General Assembly. The other representatives from the 3rd Legislative District for the 2016-2017 (217th) Legislative Session are:
|"Democratic||Stephen M. Sweeney ("incumbent)||31,541||59|
|"Democratic||Stephen M. Sweeney ("incumbent)||31,045||54.8|
|"Republican||Niki A. Trunk||25,599||45.2|
|"Democratic||Stephen M. Sweeney ("incumbent)||25,299||55.6|
|"Republican||Michael M. Mulligan||20,197||44.4|
|"Democratic||Stephen M. Sweeney ("incumbent)||29,908||59.2|
Results2017was invoked but never defined (see the "help page).
|"New Jersey Senate|
|Member of the "New Jersey Senate
from the 3rd district
|Majority Leader of the "New Jersey Senate
|President of the "New Jersey Senate