Senate President Sweeney Fine With Kean As Senate Republican Leader

Following the elections, the New Jersey State Senate Republicans began a vote to select their Senate Republican Leader. During the vote it came down to Sen. Kevin O’Toole and Sen. Tom Kean, Senate President Steve Sweeney told NJTV News Managing Editor Mike Schneider that he prefers Kean as the Republican leader.

“I’m actually better off with Sen. Kean being there to be honest with you,” said Sweeney. “I’ve gone up against Sen. Kean three times and we’ve won every time and actually gained a seat, so much better off with Tom being there than Kevin to be perfectly honest with you.”

When it came time to vote for the Senate Republican leader, Sweeney says he did not talk to Gov. Chris Christie or any of his stuff or any of the Senate Republicans.

Sweeney also mentioned that he saw the elections as a way of the governor wanting to win seats in the Senate and that Kean’s strategy through out the campaign and the election was the guarantee they were not going to win any. Throughout Kean’s campaign prior to the election, Sweeney says he was glad that Kean was spending money against him because it less money against other candidates like Linda Greenstein, Bob Gordon and Pete Barnes.

Following Election Day, Sweeney had not spoken to Kean until several days later in a phone call where Kean congratulated Sweeney.

“We have work to do in the Senate and the Assembly to insure that we put people before politics,” said Sweeney. “I think I’ve demonstrated that we’re not going to let this place to become like Washington, they elected him, they elected us, we’re going to continue to work to make New Jersey a better place and that’s my focus and goal.”

The vote for the Dream Act in New Jersey in the Senate floor is set to take place on Monday and Sweeney mentions that the Senate does intend for the Dream Act to end up on Gov. Christie’s desk. Sweeney also hopes to get the Dream Act passed and that it’s a fairness issue.

“President Obama said it right, these are our neighbors, these are kids that play with our kids,” said Sweeney. “They’re Americans in everything, in every possible way. They pledge allegiance, the only things is on paper they’re not so it makes no sense to starve them from providing the opportunities which is a higher education degree which is the greatest equalizer. I’ve always said that, this is the path out of poverty is to get an education.”

Sweeney also mentioned that the idea is not to punish people, especially children who had nothing to do with their parents bringing them into the country. He also mentions that there are many people in the state that have followed rules and want to better themselves and that they shouldn’t be denied.