GSI announces economic leadership award named for Gov. Kean

Garden State Initiative announced the establishment of the Gov. Thomas H. Kean Economic Leadership Award at its Annual Policy Forum held last week in New Brunswick.

The yearly award will serve to recognize one or more public officials who had the greatest positive impact on New Jersey’s prosperity in that given calendar year, GSI officials said. Nominations are open and can be made by anyone. They must be received by Feb. 1, 2025, with an expected announcement of the honoree in the spring of 2025.

GSI Chair Regina Egea said the group is proud to honor Kean for his work and service across the state.

“Gov. Kean has been a friend and mentor to so many of us over the years, and no one in our state’s modern history has contributed more to elevate our state’s stature and improve the prosperity of our state’s economy more than our 48th governor, the Hon. Thomas Kean,” she said. “In recognition of his lifetime of public service, GSI is honored that the governor permits us to name this award after him and pay tribute to his legacy in such a special and lasting way.”

Kean, a Republican who served from 1982-90, was known for his pro-growth, pro-taxpayer record, and his contributions to the state for more than six decades.

During his two terms in office, the governor oversaw an economic transformation in which New Jersey’s unemployment rate was cut almost in half.  New Jersey then accelerated to rank third in per capita income and sixth in high-tech industry growth. His administration created 750,000 new jobs through tax cuts, instituted landmark environmental policies, led more than 30 education reforms and built a federally replicated welfare reform program.

Kean was humbled to be honored for an award that reinforces his vision for the state.

“It’s truly an honor to have this award named after me,” he said.  “I am proud to be associated with the Garden State Initiative and all the fine work they do each year promoting common sense, pro-growth policies aimed at once again making New Jersey the economic envy of our neighbors and a state where families can prosper and businesses can grow.”

Kean has been a leader throughout his lifetime, starting with his time in the New Jersey Legislature, then his guidance of Drew University and his role as with the 9/11 Commission.