Former Senator Walter Kavanaugh dead at 74

Walter J. Kavanaugh, who served in the Legislature for 32 years until his retirement yesterday, passed away tonight after a

Walter J. Kavanaugh, who served in the Legislature for 32 years until his retirement yesterday, passed away tonight after a long illness. He was 74. Kavanaugh served in the State Assembly from 1976 to 1998, and in the Senate for the last ten years.

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"He was a good husband, a great father and mentor to so many," said his longtime friend, Somerset County Republican Chairman Dale Florio. "His humor kept us from taking politics too seriously. He goods deeds will be remembered forever."

Senate Minority Leader Thomas Kean, Jr. said that "Walter's quick wit ensured that even the driest budget hearing had its humorous points."

"His love for policy and for politics were hallmarks of his distinguished service to the people of Somerset and Morris counties and to the people of New Jersey," Kean said.

Kavanaugh began his political career as a Somerville Board of Education member in 1963 and spent twelve years there before winning an Assembly seat in 1975. He replaced Victor Rizzolo, who did not seek re-election.

When John Ewing retired from the Senate in 1997, Kavanaugh easily won the open seat. He was re-elected in 2001 and 2003. He announced last year that he would not seek re-election, and was replaced by Christopher Bateman.

Former Senator Walter Kavanaugh dead at 74