Invoking bipartisanship as New Jersey Legislature begins new session

 New Jersey Senate President Steve Sweeney has called for bipartisanship under the State House dome as the Legislature begins its new session.(<a href=“http://www.shutterstock.com/pic-24249229/stock-photo-new-jersey-state-house-and-capitol-complex-in-trenton.html?src=SpPhx69DAbNkZUSSCHLkTQ-1-9”>Photo</a> via ShutterStock)

New Jersey Senate President Steve Sweeney has called for bipartisanship under the State House dome as the Legislature begins its new session.(Photo via ShutterStock)

Leaders of the New Jersey Senate are beginning the new legislative session with a spirit of bipartisanship.

Top priorities for Democrats will be replenishing the Transportation Trust Fund and ensuring the state lives up to its pension obligations, said Senate President Steve Sweeney.

And there’s nothing in the state that can’t be fixed if Democrats and Republicans work together, he added Wednesday.

“What I’m asking my colleagues is, listen, we know the games we have to play at times for … our politics, but let’s limit the amount of politics we play and start focusing on policy,” he said.

Sweeney, D-Gloucester, told lawmakers they face great challenges to resolve important issues.

“I promise you this: Whose ever idea it is that makes sense, that’s going to improve the quality of life for the people of this state, I’m supporting it,” he said. “I don’t care if it’s a Republican or a Democrat, it’s what’s best for the people.”

Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean also urged compromise in the new session.

“We must work together in a bipartisan fashion to deem as our top priority in 2016 to make New Jersey more affordable,” said Kean, R-Union. “Yes, we need to cut taxes. We need to grow the economy.”

Expected battles over a proposal to mandate state pension payments and a potential gas tax increase could determine how long that bipartisan spirit will last.

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