Old Relationships Help Republicans Running in Newly Drawn District
Singer, Kean and Rible ready for challenges ahead
When it was announced earlier this year that the boundaries for the legislative districts would have a direct impact on their constituencies, state Senators Robert Singer and Sean Kean found themselves in an unusual position.
Both senators found themselves under the 30th District boundaries, represented currently by Singer, while Kean heads the contingent representing the 11th. Singer said that while that could have presented a problem for other members of the Senate, that was not the case for them. "It might have been more of a problem if it weren't for the fact that we're such good friends," he said.
After some discussion it was decided Singer would run to hold his seat in the Senate while Kean and 11th District Assemblyman Dave Rible would run for the two District 30 seats in the Assembly.
"We have a job to do and that job is to do the right thing for the people of the state and to help our constituencies in our towns," he said.
Having been elected to the Senate four years ago after serving in the Assembly, Kean said he is looking forward to working again with former colleagues and new ones alike if elected.
"For me it just creates challenges and opportunities to have the new district and meet new people," he said. "I still have a lot of friends down in the Assembly. People that I served with and people that came on after I got into the senate. I'm excited to go back to the Assembly and see what kinds of things we can do to make things better."
All three agreed that the redrawn legislative boundaries will help them represent constituents more effectively. "I think it's a unique situation when you're representing 25 towns and now you're representing 12," said Rible. "There's a new dynamic with Howell and Lakewood but I think there's still one common denominator, which is jobs."
Kean said the candidates have shown they are working to help the residents despite assertions that they have been incumbents during a period when the state government is "broken."
Kean said he believes they have been working to fix a system despite being in the minority of both houses. "They were saying the problem is we need to control spending and we need to control taxes but we need more teachers and more cops and people; residents, taxpayers don't get enough government services," he said. "They want it both ways and it's absurd. We've been down there. We've had the opportunity to build up a record and show that we've made the tough decisions."
Singer said those tough decisions, impacting teachers and law enforcement and pension reform, have not been easy ones. "No one on our team ever thought anything but the highest regard for teachers and police and firefighters," he said. "They do a fabulous job and they're an important part of our life but we had to fix something that's broken.
Kean said Republican cohesion has helped the party during a time of chaos in the Democratic caucus.
"They're fractured, they're infighting and this is all because the republicans held together," he said.
Having been in Trenton for as long as they have, all three said they believe they have the relationships needed to work with members on both sides of the aisle. "We've built those relationships so we get bills up in committee. We get bills heard and that's part of it," Singer said. "I think in a lot of areas we really work on the same thing. With the economy you look at the legislation putting people back to work and creating incentives, and we're all marching to the same tune."
Kean said it is that bipartisan cooperation that he believes has helped them get as much work done as they have. "When you have a voting session in Trenton, whether it's 50 or 60 bills up, probably 99 percent of them are passed with bipartisan support," he said. "The story is about the bill of the day. The one or two bills and often times they're big issues, but those are the issues that get a lot of attention. You forget that 99 percent of the bills are bipartisanly sponsored and supported."
With the new district will come new responsibilities to towns the three men have not represented before, but Singer said their jobs go beyond the 30th District. "The second priority is also the well-being of the state. We can't just be this individual which says if it doesn't benefit Monmouth or Ocean County I'm not onboard. We have to look for the greater good of the state also. That's part of the balancing act."
That includes, they said, helping with initiatives such as making the state more friendly to businesses.
"In the short term what we have to do is you have to lure companies here," Rible said. "They're going to hire local people. I think that's going to be one of our goals."
Election day is Tuesday Nov. 8. Not sure which district you are in since the maps were re-drawn? Check out this article.