Remembering Governor Brendan Byrne

Join Steve Adubato for a special One-on-One as we explore the extraordinary and significant public life of former New Jersey Governor Brendan Byrne.

2/22/18 #2113






"Hi, I'm Steve Adubato. We call it Gone But Not Forgotten when we look back at New Jerseyans who made a major contribution to this state. Back in 2013, we did a documentary on the 47th Governor of the great state of New Jersey, Brendan T. Byrne. It was at an unveiling of a Brendan Byrne statue, a monument, if you will, at the Essex County Courthouse. It was powerful. The people who spoke about him were powerful. Even though it was done five or so years ago, his significance, this documentary's significance is more important, maybe today more than ever, is about Brendan T. Byrne. This is Steve Adubato on location at the Brendan T. Byrne Essex County Court Plaza, and behind me you'll see a seven foot statue of the Honorable Governor Byrne. And that is Governor Byrne right there. This is after the ceremony. There were four... five governors who spoke about Governor Byrne, and other dignitaries who who spokes about Governor Byrne. The accolades, the praise, just kept coming, one speaker after the other. But it concluded with Governor Byrne, with his Irish wit, with his charm, with his straightforward way of connecting with people. The bottom line is this. This was a great day for Essex County, a great day for New Jersey, a great day for this country, and a great day for the Honorable Brendan T. Byrne. And I'm Steve Adubato. Let's go to the videotape, as my friend Warner Wolf used to say. We're here with Jim Zazzali, who really has a sense of Brendan Byrne in a way that others don't. We're here, actually, right in front of the statue that will be unveiled very soon. Talk to us, Jim, about Brendan Byrne. Well what can I say? I was lucky enough to work for him when I was an assistant prosecutor, and then when he was Governor, I... you know, we've had some great governors. In fact, most of our governors since the modern state constitution was adopted, have been really very fine governors. And they've all had terrific traits. Many things distinguish Brendan, but in my view, what really characterizes his life and his career the most is his courage. He had tremendous courage to do the right thing regardless of the political price... One example? ...he would have to pay. Well, I think many come to mind, but the income tax, when he supported the income tax back in 1976 or so, or whatever the year was, everyone predicted that that would cause his demise as Governor, and that he could never be reelected. And that was the prediction. His approval rating after the income tax was 17% of the state of New Jersey, and that was just nine months before the election. The..."