Since news broke in October that state Senator Joe Kyrillos of New Jersey’s 13th legislative district would not be seeking re-election, there has been speculation about who would replace him in the majority Republican district. Now, Kyrillos’ district mate Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon has confirmed that he will be running to replace Kyrillos.
“I am running for senate. I am looking forward to the opportunity to double the value of my vote and the volume of my megaphone,” O’Scanlon said.
According to O’Scanlon New Jersey will be facing “tremendous challenges” over the next few years, particularly in terms of budgetary issues.
“We will be facing a budget crisis like we have never seen before. Thank goodness we already enacted a round of reforms—pension, health benefits and others—that are saving us substantial money right now,” O’Scanlon said. “Over the next five years we face a $4 to $7 billion annual budget deficit—that’s billion with a “B”—and it’s not going away with the waving of a magic wand or creative accounting.”
O’Scanlon said that the budget will be his focus if elected and that he will be a “champion” of reforms including more cuts and cost saving measures. O’Scanlon has already submitted a health benefits reform plan.
“Virtually everything else that everyone wants to do is dependent upon us resolving this looming budget crisis,” O’Scanlon said. Even so, the assemblyman said he will not be singularly focused on budget if elected as state senator. He said that he will also continue his work on addiction policy and continue work on recovery from Superstorm Sandy. He said that he also hopes continue pushing for shared services to save taxpayer money as the district’s new senator.
According to O’Scanlon, he will be committed to bringing groups together and will keep all constituents in mind if elected. The assemblyman said that constituent services are a top priority.
“I have a history of bringing people together. I have allies in reform communities and labor. I regularly defend teachers and the job they do. Police, I work with them on a regular basis,” O’Scanlon said. “I have a proven record of doing these things. I think I am singularly qualified to be the senator for the 13th legislative district.”
O’Scanlon has been in the assembly since 2008. Kyrillos has served on the senate since 1992.
Assemblywoman Amy Handlin has also confirmed that she will be running for Kyrillos’ seat. Since both she and O’Scanlon are Republicans, there will be a primary battle in the district.