Working for Smart Growth:
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Remembering Brendan Byrne

January 5th, 2018 by

It is with profound sadness that all of us at New Jersey Future note the passing of our friend and supporter, former Governor Brendan Byrne.

Governor Byrne exemplified the word “statesman.” He sought out and tackled large, transformative changes that he thought would benefit all residents of the state, and he worked unselfishly with members of both political parties to help implement those changes. Long after leaving office he remained active in public affairs, including a weekly stint as one half of the Byrne-Kean dialogues in the Sunday Star-Ledger, which presented, in true Brendan Byrne spirit, a cordial and bipartisan take on the events of the week.

He was also a passionate environmentalist, and perhaps his most important environmental legacy, and the one for which he most wanted to be remembered, was the passage of the Pinelands Protection Act, which largely protected more than a million acres of New Jersey’s Pine Barrens, a unique ecosystem over a massive aquifer and water supply, and the largest open-space area near the mid-Atlantic coast.

Governor Byrne was a champion of the concept of “smart growth” before the term came into common parlance. Along with two other former governors, he was an honorary co-chair of New Jersey Future’s board of trustees, and had for decades been an invaluable supporter of the organization’s work. New Jersey is better off for his service as governor, and is now the poorer for his passing. We extend our condolences to all who knew him and particularly those who were closest to him and to New Jersey Future, including his son Tom and his daughter Nancy and son-in-law Peter Reinhart, New Jersey Future’s current board chairman.

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