Senate Majority Leader Bernard Kenny’s expected formal retirement announcement came today, with the Hudson County Democrat saying that he will not seek re-election to a sixth term. “I want to have the time to find other ways to serve,” Kenny said. “My basic motive has always been to serve the public and my life’s activities will continue in that realm.”
“Bernie Kenny achieved a lot during his time at the State House, but he never rested on his achievements. He fought for what he believed in and made things happen, and he did it with grace and dignity,” said Gov. Jon Corzine. “He will be forever remembered for his many years of serving the people of New Jersey.”
Democratic State Chairman Joseph Cryan says that Kenny “will be more than missed and he will never be forgotten.”
“Bernie Kenny is leaving the State Senate, but he is leaving behind a record of accomplishment and a distinctive style of leadership that won the trust and admiration of Democrats and Republicans alike,” Cryan said. “He may be leaving the Statehouse, but he takes with him the respect and good will of the entire political community.
Cryan says that Kenny “brought integrity to everything he did and he treated everyone with decency and consideration.”
“Even with the demands of serving in leadership, he always made time to help guide and even mentor new legislators,” said Cryan. “A lot of us learned from him directly in addition to learning by the example he set.”
Kenny first went to the Legislature in 1987 when he ran with then-Union City Mayor Robert Menendez for two Assembly seats the Republicans had won two years earlier. Menendez went to the Senate when incumbent Christopher Jackman passed away in 1991, and Kenny moved to the upper house after Menendez won a 1992 race for Congress. He succeeded Menendez as the Hudson County Democratic Chairman in 2003. He is also the Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, a post he assumed last year after a federal probe of Wayne Bryant became public.