Kyrillos is a Solid Reaganite Conservative

By Alan Steinberg

The primary election for the Republican nomination for United States Senate in 2012 now appears to be a contest between two members of the New Jersey State Senate, Joe Kyrillos of Monmouth County and Mike Doherty of Warren County. Kyrillos served in the State Assembly from 1988 until 1991 and in the state senate since then. Doherty served in the State Assembly from 2002 until 2009 and in the State Senate from 2009 until the present.The contest has been depicted in the media and in some political quarters as a race between a conservative Doherty and a moderate Kyrillos. This is, however, a most inaccurate portrayal.

Joe Kyrillos is a solid Reaganite conservative. By contrast, Mike Doherty is a Ron Paul conservative. Doherty supported Ron Paul for President in the 2008 election.

Senator Doherty has emphasized as his defining conservative issue his Fair School Funding plan, which he has introduced in the State Senate in the form of a bill. Under this legislation, each school district would receive state aid based upon a per pupil amount, multiplied by the number of its students.

The Doherty plan would clearly be held to be unconstitutional by the New Jersey Supreme Court. Under its Abbott v. Burke line of cases, the court has shifted a disproportionate amount of state aid from suburban districts to the state urban “special needs” districts. Senator Doherty’s legislation is effective in making a point, but ineffective in making change.

By contrast, in 1992, Senator Kyrillos proposed a constitutional amendment which would have been far more effective in preserving suburban state school aid. This measure would have effectively superseded Abbott v. Burke and limited the jurisdiction of the New Jersey Supreme Court to intervene in state school funding matters.

Specifically, the Kyrillos amendment would have prohibited the New Jersey Supreme Court from requiring that any school district be funded in an amount in excess of 120 percent of the state per pupil average. The amendment was considered at a joint Assembly-Senate public hearing in July, 1992.

The liberal media in New Jersey harshly criticized the Kyrillos amendment as having an anti-minority impact. At the public hearing, urban school officials and activists denounced the amendment as racist. In the face of these attacks, the amendment failed to get the necessary support of 24 Senators and 48 Assembly members for placement on the November, 1992 ballot.

In sponsoring and advocating this amendment however, Joe Kyrillos demonstrated both his judicial conservatism and political courage. In the election of that same year of 1992, Kyrillos ran against incumbent Frank Pallone for the U.S. House of Representatives. Yet he still sponsored the amendment, refusing to sacrifice his judicial conservatism as an expediency of the election.

The judicial conservatism of Joe Kyrillos was also much in evidence on November 14, 2006. On that day, he was the only member of the State Senate to vote against granting tenure to New Jersey Supreme Court Justice Jaynee LaVecchia.

Earlier in 2011, Justice LaVecchia issued the court opinion requiring the state to give the urban 31 districts an additional $500 million. In assessing the Kyrillos vote on Justice LaVecchia’s tenure back in 2006, one must understand that he would oppose the granting of tenure to any justice he perceived to be legislating from the bench rather than strictly interpreting the law.

Joe Kyrillos has a connection to the presidency of Ronald Reagan deeper than that of any other current elected official in New Jersey. He began his career as a special assistant to the then Secretary of the Interior Don Hodel during the second term of the Reagan administration.

After the completion of the Reagan administration, Hodel later served as president of the Christian Coalition from 1997 until 1999 and as president of Focus on the Family from 2003 until 2005. The social conservatism of his mentor, Don Hodel influenced Joe Kyrillos as well. It was much in evidence during the second term of the Whitman administration, when Kyrillos sponsored a constitutional amendment banning all third trimester abortions.

The tax reduction and pro-business ideology of Ronald Reagan has constituted the core of the conservative, free market philosophy of Senator Joe Kyrillos. He was a leading advocate of the Whitman income tax cuts. Most significantly, Kyrillos made history by his authorship and sponsorship of the New Jersey Business Employment Incentive Program, which gives rebates to companies who create a substantial number of new jobs.

Kyrillos also demonstrates his appreciation of the Reagan style by his effectiveness in securing the passage of legislation. While he is loyal to his conservative principles, he works well with senators of different political parties and divergent ideologies. Joe Kyrillos has demonstrated the ability to not only talk conservative change, but make it as well.

In writing this column, I do not mean to imply in any way that Mike Doherty is not a conservative. I simply want to correct any misperceptions about Joe Kyrillos. Far from being a moderate, he is the ultimate Reaganite conservative.

I must make a full disclosure, however. Joe Kyrillos is a good friend of mine. That is something of which I am most proud.


Alan J. Steinberg served as Regional Administrator of Region 2 EPA during the administration of former President George W. Bush. Region 2 EPA consists of the states of New York and New Jersey, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and eight federally recognized Indian nations. Under former New Jersey Governor Christie Whitman, he served as Executive Director of the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission. He currently serves on the political science faculty of Monmouth University.

Posted: August 1st, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Joe Kyrillos, NJ GOP | Tags: , , | 17 Comments »

17 Comments on “Kyrillos is a Solid Reaganite Conservative”

  1. NRA Member said at 9:19 am on August 1st, 2011:

    What has Senator Joe Kryillos done in furtherance of my Second Amendment rights?

  2. brian said at 9:54 am on August 1st, 2011:

    Whitman??? Bush???? Those are conservative credentials?????????
    Hey Joe, what was the thought process when you boosted pensions by 9% while putting ZERO into the fund.
    ln gov’t since 1988—l would say that he is PART of the problem, definitely not the solution—-nice try though Alan the lib.

  3. TheDigger said at 9:59 am on August 1st, 2011:

    As one who has been a conservative since the days of Barry Goldwater (“AUH2O”), I must echo Mr. Steinberg’s comments.

    I have known Joe Kyrillos for many years and he has been a true leader who has been able to accomplish much.

    The genius of our founding fathers in the creation of a constitutional republic (representative government) was that to govern, elected officials would need to set aside their own personal interests and work together to accomplish goals. Yes, that does mean compromise at times; compromise is not a dirty word unless or until you compromise on your core values and principles.

    Joe Kyrillos has not been afraid to stand firm when necessary and yet be able to get things done in Trenton.

    If it weren’t for Joe Kyrillos, we wouldn’t have Chris Christie as our Governor. Could you imagine if NJ still had Jon Corzine as Governor?

    I could go on and on as to how Joe has been able to also help those less fortunate get back on their feet; compassion is a true Christian value, but does not infer or imply a handout, rather a helping hand. And that is based solidly upon our Judeo-Christian heritage.

    New Jersey demographics will never allow a Ron Paul ideologue to be elected. If we are to have any chance of beating the incumbent US Senator, with a fiscal conservative, our candidate must be Joe Kyrillos.

    And to NRA Member I would like to point out that I am a Lifetime Member of the NRA and I have full confidence in Joe Kyrillos.

  4. Freespeaker1976 said at 10:52 am on August 1st, 2011:

    If Joe Kyrillos is a conservative, then I am the tooth fairy. In this circumstance, Brian has it correct

  5. NRA Member said at 1:17 pm on August 1st, 2011:

    To The Digger, I wish I shared your confidence. While I will reserve judgment on Senator Kryillos, I am troubled that the senator has so very often voted to re-confirm Superior Court judges that have been absolutely hostile to the Second Amendment rights of New Jersey’s citizens.

    In addition, I believe Senator Kryillos supported the nomination of Paula Dow to be New Jersey’s Attorney General. As you may be aware, Attorney General Dow has said, in briefs submitted in Federal District Court, that the Second Amendment only protects a right to keep firearms in one’s home. Apparently in New Jersey, and as per our current AG, the Second Amendment ends on your front porch. Tell me, Digger, what other constitutional rights apply only in one’s home but not outside the home?

    Muller, et al, v Maenza, et al. (Brief of the Attorney General of New Jersey)

    Wayne man among those suing judges, state officials over gun permits

  6. NRA Member said at 3:13 pm on August 1st, 2011:

    My questions to Senator Kryillos:

    Senator, do you support Attorney General Dow’s view of the Second Amendment? (Please see the above.) Does the Second Amendment only apply in one’s home and not outside one’s home? If so, what other states share this view? What other parts of the Constitution apply only in one’s home?

    Senator, you have served in the NJ Legislature for a very long time. In all the years (decades) that you’ve served, have you ever asked a nominee to the New Jersey bench what their views were with respect to the Second Amendment? Have you ever sent a letter to a nominee to the NJ Judiciary asking them about their views on the Second Amendment and/or NJ’s gun control laws? Have you ever questioned a nominee to the NJ bench as to why they, as a judge, denied an applicant the right to carry a concealed firearm? Have you ever done that even once? If so, can you show me where and how you did just that? I am a big OPRA fan so please make it easy for me to find these records of your (supposed) support for the Second Amendment. I would love to make your (supposed) support of the Second Amendment available to the public.

    Senator, have you ever, even once, supported a Monmouth County resident’s petition/application to carry a concealed weapon/firearm? I’m not talking about some guy that wants a job as an armed guard. Have you ever supported, even once, an applicant for a permit to carry a firearm that wasn’t seeking that permit for employment purposes? If so, can I see evidence of this support? Can you make that support public for all to see?

    OPRA, Advisory Opinions & Other Laws

    Please tell me again, Digger, why you have that “confidence” in Joe Kryillos that you mentioned above. I am sure that you, as a “Lifetime Member” of the NRA, you will be able to justify your “confidence.” Member to member, please do just that.

    The NRA’s Home

  7. NRA Member said at 3:32 pm on August 1st, 2011:

    Again, I ask a simple question: What, in all the years (decades) that he has served in the NJ Legislature, has Joe Kryillos ever done in support and/or in furtherance of my or anyone’s Second Amendment rights?

  8. brian said at 6:09 pm on August 1st, 2011:

    Using the word “courage” about someone who’s whole life has been spent suckling on the govt teat really is a stretch.

  9. Proud Republican said at 6:26 pm on August 1st, 2011:

    Brian is one of those angry Democrats who closes his eyes and bashes everyone in sight just trying to get some attention. He has no clue as to the issues in this state or the root causes of the State’s tragic condition.

  10. James Hogan said at 8:22 pm on August 1st, 2011:

    Just curious what the other NRA members here have done to advance 2A rights in NJ? I, as an NRA member, county committeeman, and voter have asked about 2A (and right to life) at every candidate forum I’ve attended, be it a candidate for local council, freeholder, sheriff, assembly, state senate, us congress, us senate… every time to date, I’m alone in asking, and most people don’t find my questions very interesting, or relevant to the levels I’m asking, but they are benchmarks for “Republicans” and our candidates should have great, immediate answers on these issues. Maybe more NRA members need to show up at candidate’s forums and be heard instead of anonymously attacking Sen. Kryillos, and anyone who supports him?

    I also attended an Anna Little event at Shore Shot pistol range last year or so. I reached out to my fellow NRA members and range members to attend, if only to show their support for a pro-2A candidate in NJ. Alan Bateman who was running for Congress also came out to the event looking for support. The count of people? 6, and 4 were Anna & Rob Little, Anna’s lovely campaign event planner/manager, and Alan, who is a GREAT shot, google here or my blog for the picture evidence. Why should any of these candidates get out in front of our 2A concerns if 6, or really 2, people care? I’ll take Joe Kryillos getting elected and doing the right thing on the budget and being rather silent on 2A over some D getting elected, doing the wrong thing on the budget and then also hurting my 2A rights even more.

    Oh, and then there is my friend, a great mayor and a man who was, and will hopefully again be, great Congressional candidate, Mike Halfacre who is VERY pro-2A and very out in front of the issue, working hard to bring 2A rights to the forefront and defending us against Bloomberg’s pals, but again, he’ll get beat up here, and now me, being another very open pro-2A guy, will get beat up by the anonymous trolls for saying good things about Mike Halfacre and his pro-2A position…

    All silly… want to do the best pro-2A thing possible for NJ? Elect Joe Kryillos, or Mike Doherty, it doesn’t even matter which, over Frank Lautenberg or Bob Menendez.

  11. longtime13th said at 10:10 pm on August 1st, 2011:

    This thread is amusing. Joe’s on the ballot for re-election this November yet no one seems bothered that he’s asking us to send him back to a seat he doesn’t want.

    And who picks his replacement? Diane Gooch for State Senate?

  12. SorryAlan said at 12:17 am on August 2nd, 2011:

    I’m glad that in the interest of full disclosure you revealed that Mr. Kyrillos is a close friend. Cronyism doesn’t serve the interests of the people of NJ in any sector or office. Your self serving post reminded me that Region II hasn’t had a good Regional Administrator since Chris Daggett and this state would surely be better off today if his run for governor were successful.

  13. Anti-windbag said at 8:27 am on August 2nd, 2011:

    Hogan, you wrote four rambling paragraphs and you didn’t offer any evidence whatsoever that Joe Kyrillos supports the Second Amendment.

  14. James Hogan said at 10:30 am on August 2nd, 2011:

    Sorry ma’am, you’re right… clearly the opponents, Frank Lautenberg and Bob Menendez, of those you are attacking, Joe Kryillos and Mike Doherty, are the better choice for NRA members.

    Again, my apologies and keep up the good fight against Joe Kryillos, and Mike Doherty, for my fellow NRA members and I who are also big Lautenberg supporters, like you. Thanks!

  15. Anti-Loon said at 12:33 pm on August 2nd, 2011:

    Asking for evidence that Joe Kryillos supports the Second Amendment constitutes an “attack” in your mind, Hogan? Asking questions about Kryillos’ position on Second Amendment issues makes one a supporter of Frank Lautenberg and Bob Menendez?

    You really are quite unbalanced, James Hogan.

  16. and, the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus said at 8:52 pm on August 3rd, 2011:

    are busy shopping for their next holidays.. Alan, apparently, like many others, is looking to recapture some past “glory days”, by getting on-board with the guy with one of the largest kittys, so to speak, whatever he decides to go for.. that’s fine, and Joe’s a swell guy, but “Reaganite” ain’t a word that comes to mind for me, God bless him!

  17. MoreMonmouthMusings » Blog Archive » Kyrillos is a Solid Reaganite … « Feeds « Election 2012 Coverage said at 6:27 am on August 14th, 2011:

    […] From Source: MoreMonmouthMusings » Blog Archive » Kyrillos is a Solid Reaganite … Watch THE LION OF JUDAH MOVIE- Review for yourself Lion of Judah The Movie- visit the official […]