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The 2017 Pension Political Power 25: Steve Sweeney

No. 12. Steve Sweeney

  • By Peter Vasiliev

12. Steve Sweeney
President,
New Jersey State Senate

Last November, New Jersey achieved a dubious honor when it surpassed Illinois and Kentucky to claim the most underfunded pension system in the U.S. The Garden State has $135.7 billion less than it needs to cover its pension promises, and fixing the funding gap has been an ongoing political challenge. As the powerful president of the State Senate, Steve Sweeney, 57, is on the front line of the state’s bloody pension battles. He was the driving force behind a law passed in December that requires New Jersey to make quarterly rather than annual payments to its pension system. Governor Chris Christie vetoed two previous iterations of the bill — calling it an improper and unwarranted intrusion in 2014 — but conceded after a revision shifted borrowing costs associated with those payments to the pension fund. Pension politics will loom large in New Jersey’s upcoming state elections, slated for November. Though Sweeney has opted not to run for governor, he will be an important power behind whoever inherits the throne from an embattled, term-limited Christie. — Jess Delaney


The 2017 Pension Political Power 25

1. Andy Puzder
Secretary of Labor
2. Bruce Rauner
Governor of Illinois
3. Betsy DeVos
Secretary of Education
4. Laura & John Arnold
Founders,
Laura and John Arnold Foundation
5. Steven Mnuchin
Secretary of the Treasury
6. Wilbur Ross
Secretary of Commerce
7. Tani Cantil-Sakauye
California Chief Justice
8. Paul Ryan
Speaker of the House
9. Anthony Scaramucci
Founder, SkyBridge Capital
10. Kevin de León
California State Senator and President Pro Tempore
11. Mike Enzi
Chairman, Senate Subcommittee on Primary Health and Retirement Security
12. Steve Sweeney
President,
New Jersey State Senate
13. Jerry Brown
Governor of California
14. Corey Lewandowski
Co-founder, Avenue Strategies
15. Paul Singer
President,
Elliott Management Corp.
16. Randel Johnson
Senior Vice President, Labor, Immigration, and Employee Benefits, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
17. Joe Manchin
U.S. Senator
18. Kenneth Feinberg
Founder and managingpartner, Feinberg Rozen
19. Scott Walker
Governor of Wisconsin
20. Richard Trumka
President, AFL-CIO
21. Mike Rawlings
Mayor of Dallas
22. Elizabeth Warren
U.S. Senator
23. Kent Mason
Partner,
Davis & Harman
24. Bernie Sanders
U.S. Senator
25. Randi Weingarten
President, American Federation of Teachers

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