By JOHN T. WARD
In an email to supporters Tuesday, the nine-term Republican senator cited “the constraints and frustrations of serving in the minority” and the legislative “process” as factors in his decision.
““When I leave the Senate in January 2018, I will have spent more than half my lifetime serving in public life,” Kyrillos told the Two River Times. “It’s time for some new challenges and opportunities and its also time to give others an opportunity to serve.”
“Known for his elegant and diplomatic style,” according to the right-leaning news blog More Monmouth Musings, Kyrillos, 56, began his career in public service in 1984, shortly after graduating from Hobart College, when he went to work for Vice President George H. W. Bush on the Reagan-Bush campaign and later worked as a special assistant to the Secretary of the Interior.
He was elected to the Assembly in 1987, at the age of 27, and served two terms before being elected to the Senate for a term beginning in 1992, according to a bio on his website.
From that bio:
Some of Senator Kyrillos’ major legislative accomplishments include sponsorship of the Fort Monmouth Economic Revitalization Planning Authority Act and of the Business Employment Incentive Program, the state’s centerpiece incentive program intended to stimulate job creation. He worked to establish the New Jersey School Report Card, and is the sponsor of the Environmental Infrastructure Trust, legislation promoting eco-tourism, a stable source of shore protection funding, as well as legislation closing CAFRA loopholes permitting inappropriate coastal development.
Kyrillos has enjoyed an increasingly rare commodity throughout his tenure in Trenton – bipartisan popularity. Voters in the 13th routinely send him back to the capitol with 60% of the vote, and even Democratic legislators consider Kyrillos fair and collegial.
Kyrillos, a commercial real estate broker, and his wife, Susan Doctorian Kyrillos — to whom he was introduced by now-Governor Chris Christie — live in the Oak Hill section of Middletown with their two children, Max and Georgia.
He was state chairman of Christie’s first, and successful, gubernatorial run in 2009, but endorsed Floridian Jeb Bush in this year’s Republican presidential primary, in which Christie was a contender.
Kyrillos was the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate in 2012, but lost in a blowout to incumbent Democrat Bob Menendez.
As to a potential successor in his 13th-district senate seat, Politiker offered this:
With Kyrillos retiring, speculation will automatically turn to Kyrillos’ long-serving running mates in the 13th Legislative District, Assembly members Amy Handlin [of Lincroft] and Declan O’Scanlon [Little Silver]. O’Scanlon would be the favorite in a Republican head to head, as Handlin is viewed with suspicion by the conservative voters who turn out in greater force in contested primaries. With a year to go, however, there could easily emerge a new face or a self-funder who’d see a relatively safe Republican seat as a launching pad.