The former New Jersey governor who introduced the state’s first income tax, brought casino gambling to Atlantic City, presided over the Sports and Exposition Authority’s development of the Meadowlands sports complex, including construction of Giants Stadium in the 1970s, has died. Brendan T. Byrne was 93.
Byrne transformed the state economy to one driven by services and trade to offset the loss of manufacturing jobs. His preservation of the environmentally fragile Pine Barrens endures.
His death was announced in a statement from New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who praised the former prosecutor who served for two terms as the 47th Governor of New Jersey from 1974 to 1982.
Nicknamed “OTB” — One Term Byrne — when he ran for re-election in 1977, the Democratic politician faced 10 primary challengers, but beat them all and then won in the general election by 14 a point margin.
“Brendan Byrne was of the funniest people I’ve encountered in politics,” said MSNBC host Steve Kornacki, who covered the Garden State for as a blogger. “He loved to joke that he wanted to be buried in Hudson County — ‘so that I can remain politically active.'”
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