Third Legislative District
Senate President Steve Sweeney represents New Jersey’s Third Legislative District. First elected to the New Jersey Senate in 2001, he has served as Senate President since 2010.
An ironworker by trade, Senator Sweeney has been a strong advocate for organized labor and the rights of workers, having sponsored laws to raise New Jersey’s minimum wage and create the state’s Paid Family Leave program. When his daughter was born, Senator Sweeney spent nearly two months with her in the hospital, an experience that helped him craft and create New Jersey’s Paid Family Leave program. He’s also remained a tireless advocate for individuals with developmental disabilities throughout his career. In 2010, Senator Sweeney helped design and pass thirty bills, known collectively as “Back to WorkNJ,” that aimed to help create jobs and economic growth in New Jersey. Continuing to fight for New Jersey’s middle class working families, in 2012 Senator Sweeney introduced legislation which would provide incentives to small businesses that hire New Jersey’s long-term unemployed. In 2014 Senator Sweeney sponsored a law that ensures students with disabilities are not prevented from participating in athletics and are provided with reasonable accommodation or modification based on individual needs of the student.
As Senate President, he has taken a leading role in promoting property tax relief and refocusing the state’s fiscal priorities. In 2011, Senator Sweeney proposed sweeping reforms to the public employee pension and health benefits systems that will save taxpayers over $120 billion over a 30 year period, and have been hailed as a national model for other states. Senator Sweeney was also instrumental in crafting the state’s new two-percent property tax cap. In 2011, Senator Sweeney was named as a “Politician Who’s Ahead of the Curve” by Philadelphia Magazine for his continued support of shared services between local government units.
In 2012, Senator Sweeney sponsored legislation that would establish marriage equality for all New Jersey residents. In 2013, Senator Sweeney sponsored legislation allowing voters the opportunity to approve a minimum wage increase. The law to raise New Jersey’s minimum wage was approved by New Jersey voters in November 2013 and took effect on January 1, 2014.
Senate President Sweeney is championing the “Sandy Bill of Rights” legislation which would help victims of Superstorm Sandy get the aid and assistance they need, and would bring more fairness to the distribution of recovery aid. The Senate President has vowed to continue to work with advocates to bring Sandy victims the answers and information they deserve.
In an effort to help improve the state’s economy Senate President Sweeney has advocated for a stable funding source for New Jersey’s Transportation Trust Fund. The Senate President believes that repairing New Jersey’s bridges, roads and railways will attract businesses to our state and create jobs.
Senator Sweeney was born on June 11, 1959 in Camden and is a graduate of PennsaukenHigh School. He is currently the Vice President for the International Association of Ironworkers. Senator Sweeney and his wife, Patti, were married in 1986. They live in West Deptford with their two children, Stephen and Lauren.
Updated September 9, 2014