SMITH McKEON BRAMNICK AWARDED GOVERNMENTAL LEADERSHIP AWARDS FOR EXEMPLARY SERVICE TO N.J. HISTORY COMMUNITY
Advocates for N.J. History Honor Lawmakers at War Memorial
(TRENTON) Senate Environment and Energy Committee chairman Bob Smith and Assembly Environment and Solid Waste Committee chairman John F. McKeon Friday were awarded this year’s Democratic Governmental Leadership awards for their exemplary service to the New Jersey History community.
Assemblyman Jon M. Bramnick was awarded the Republican Governmental Leadership award in the same category. He serves as Assembly Minority Conference Leader.
Smith, McKeon and Bramnick received the awards from the Advocates for New Jersey History at the History Issues Convention on Friday, Mar. 26 at the War Memorial in Trenton.
Smith and McKeon’s selection was prompted by their long-standing advocacy of the environment and specifically, their sponsorship of the $400 million bond issue to fund open space that voters approved by a margin of nearly 90,000 votes on Nov. 3, 2009.
The Green Acres, Water Supply and Floodplain Protection, and Farmland and Historic Preservation Bond Act of 2009 will enable the Garden State Preservation Trust to preserve valuable tracks of farmland and sources of clean drinking water, purchase flood-prone areas and support historic preservation.
“We are proud to present this year’s Democratic Governmental Leadership Awards to Senator Smith and Assemblyman McKeon in recognition of their strong commitment to preserving those places of history and natural beauty that make our state unique and contribute significantly to New Jersey’s overall quality of life,” said Heather E. Stivison, Board of Directors, Advocates for New Jersey History.
“They both know that when our history and our open spaces are lost, they are lost forever. Thanks to their leadership, we are making strides towards preserving our state’s great legacies for generations to come,” she added.
Open space funding enables the Advocates for N.J. History to advance their goal of building awareness of the importance of history activities and history education in New Jersey. It also supports the goal of Preservation New Jersey and the N.J. Historic Trust to preserve the state’s historic landmarks.
Smith and McKeon, chairs of New Jersey’s Senate and Assembly Environment Committees respectively, pledged to continue to work together to serve as responsible stewards of the environment and preserve New Jersey’s historic treasures.
Smith commended the people of the state for their support of the latest open space bond issue.
“Jersey citizens should be congratulated for supporting the 2009 open space, farmland and historic preservation bond issue. They have invested in our state’s future and in improving our quality of life by so doing,” Smith (D-Middlesex) said.
“I am humbled at receiving this award along with an outstanding leader like Senator Smith. I am glad that we have been able to move forward in a bipartisan manner on significant environmental legislation like the open space bond issue with the support of our colleagues like Assemblyman Bramnick,” McKeon (D-Essex) said.
“By serving as custodians of the past, organizations like the Advocates for N.J. History, the N.J. Historic Trust and Preservation N.J. perform an invaluable service to the people of our state. We are deeply in their debt and this is one deficit I am glad to carry forward,” McKeon added.
Bramnick was also selected for the award for his support of the 2009 bond issue to fund open space and what Stivison described as his “desire to preserve our state’s irreplaceable treasures. Assemblyman Bramnick’s bipartisan approach has led him to make decisions that he sincerely believes are in the best interest of New Jersey,” she said.
“I was proud to work with Senator Smith and Assemblyman McKeon on the bipartisan bonding referendum in order to protect open space,” Bramnick (R-Westfield) said. “When it comes to the long-term future of New Jersey, including the environment, it is important for us to transcend the politics of the moment and work together.”
Besides several ballot measures to fund open space, Smith and McKeon have collaborated on some of the most significant environmental legislation in New Jersey’s recent history.
They sponsored the landmark Highlands Water Planning and Protection Act of 2004 to protect and preserve the 859,358 acre Highlands region that supplies drinking water to more than 5.4 million New Jersey residents – that’s more than half the state’s population. They also sponsored legislation enacted in 2005 to reduce the emission of diesel particulates in New Jersey’s air by diverting funds from corporate taxes to create a stable source of funding for the retrofitting of truck engines. A site remediation reform measure sponsored by Smith and McKeon enacted in 2009, expedites the clean-up of the state’s more than 20,000 contaminated sites.
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