Title Slate: The Eleventh Hour #220, Gov. Kean, Rec: 6/28/89, Dir: Andrew Wilk
Funding by announcer and overlay the Eleventh Hour graphic.
The Eleventh Hour graphics and show opener.
Show opens - President Ronald Reagan at podium giving campaign speech promoting Thomas Kean for New Jersey Governor .
Tom Kean at podium shaking hands with Ronald Reagan
Montage of Tom Kean on the 1981 campaign trail as Robert Lipsyte narrates. Kean shaking hands with people, at podium taking the oath as Governor.
Tom Kean wearing a hard had, hands up in victory at podium surrounded by Laborers Local 472 signs
Kean dancing on stage and in a scene with Brooke Shields
"NJ & You Perfect Together" - Public relations clips with Gov. Thomas Kean.
"Perfect Together" slogan sponsorship by NJ Division of Travel
Sponsorship ad for New Jersey Tourism- depicting a couple walking the beach at sunset, slogan reads :New Jersey and You Still Perfect Together.
Montage var clips featuring Tom Kean as Lipsyte narrates Kean is known as the "MVP of the GOP". Kean is seen mingling at social events, at podium with other officials, riding in a parade, shaking hands with other officials.
More clips of Tom Kean - standing high above huge crowd of supporters arms up in victory; making speech;
Large crowd of Kean supporters packed waving Kean in '96 signs
Host Robert Lipsyte welcomes viewers and introduces guest, Governor Tom Kean.
Governor welcome. I was reading your book, the politics of inclusion. And that image of that young boy that you were when your father was a congressman, going back and forth between Washington and New Jersey this this bookish stuttering boy who grew up to become what they call the partisan slasher was was kind of interesting. Somewhere along the way, somewhere after your master's degree in education, you decided to leave this bookish world and become a politician. Was there a moment that you remember that something happened?
Thomas H. Kean 4:24
I don't know if there was one particular moment there were two or three of them really. I think all of us were affected and affected deeply when by the assassinations I'm talking about the year of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy and john kennedy. There was something about that, which I think did something deep to this country and deep to all of us were young and that time and for me, said something to me, we got to be a little more involved in in the welfare of the country. We live in that philosophically that hit me in But practically, it was really as summarized, started to take off from getting my doctorate degree at Columbia, and had nothing else to do. I wanted to get away from books for a while before I did my dissertation and worked for a presidential candidate. And we didn't have a chance to be a friend of my father's called bill Scranton. And because nobody else was there, all the leading politicians were for Goldwater because he was gonna win. I was promoted rapidly. I went up to, they asked me, I called me up one day and said, will you pay your own way to San Francisco? And I said, Yes. And I said, Now on your on National Youth coordinator, and got sold, were you at this point? Oh, I guess I was 22, maybe 22,23.
I mean, you are no stranger to politics. I mean, you'd worked in your father's congressional campaigns,
I'd worked in only one campaign, and I'd stayed a mile away from my father's congressional campaigns. I don't really like politics. I looked at it as an intrusion on the family. The only time I got involved was when I had to, and that was when I was just out of the army. And my father happened to run for the United States Senate and I hadn't gotten the job yet. Now, if you have a son who hadn't gotten a job, who was available, and you're running for statewide office, you draft him and my father drafted me in no uncertain terms. And I did everything from chauffeured lick stamps and envelopes. And I must say, I did force feeding in a way but I did get an understanding and an appreciation of the political process through that campaign, which I would never have expected to have before that, but
Robert Lipsyte 6:30
it's still you still didn't get turned on until the Scranton campaign. Well, what was it that summer working for Scranton that got you excited?
Thomas H. Kean 6:36
Well, part of it was that, at a young age, I was given tremendous responsibility. I was in charge of this floor demonstration at the convention, I was in charge of greeting Eisenhower, when he came into town, I was in charge of all these things suddenly, and of course, I was also very much for Bill Scranton, who obviously was not the nominee and had no chance of being the nominee. And I became convinced that if there was a problem, it was it was local, and politics and somebody said, all politics is local. And that I would From then on, I didn't think I was ever going to run for office, but at least partly part of my life, was going to be involved in local politics, trying to make sure that that end of it anyway was right. And I came back home and volunteered to do some part time work. And sure enough, after a couple of years, it was a primary. And how do I get ever would have been picked otherwise. But both sides needed people. And one of them said, came to me and said, Would you think of running for the assembly? And I thought about it and decided that Well, probably wouldn't be successful. Because it was a primary and even if I was successful, maybe a couple of years wouldn't do any harm. And I never left it
Robert Lipsyte 7:44
Had a great run. IAre you happy about it. I mean, did you make the right decision?
Thomas H. Kean 7:47
Oh, I think there's no question about it. You get a feeling you know, when you're in government, when you're in when you when you're doing something like that, you get a feeling and you go home at night, you feel you've done something that's worthwhile, and you've done something that you're satisfied with. And that's happened in almost every job in government, I've had certainly in the legislature when I was able to get particularly good bills, because I thought they were good bills through. But more importantly, in the governorship. It's one of those jobs, any job like it I think I've ever had is teaching every night you got a bed, and you can think of something you've done that may have made a difference to somebody else, and you feel sort of good about it.
Robert Lipsyte 8:21
Okay, so now where you are now, this kind of statesman in waiting, as the republicans would like to think of you this holding pattern, you've got these two high profile jobs at drew University. And as the volunteer General of the United States, neither of them with particularly defined activities, both giving you the leeway to make speeches to go around to plan that next step that everybody is waiting. What's Tom Kean going to do next?
Thomas H. Kean 8:51
Well, first thing I'm going to do next is trying to make drew University the best small college in the country. I mean, that's, that's it. From a practical point of view, I think that can be done. It's a good school. And I think we can make it into a really great school. And I'm looking forward to that. And on a very personal level. I'm sort of a Jeffersonian in politics, I believe that you shouldn't stay permanently in office, that there is time to step back and step aside and sort of reconnect with the real world.
Robert Lipsyte 9:22
You haven't been in the real world in the last eight years as governor.
Thomas H. Kean 9:25
No, theres something a little artificial about, about being in government, especially being governor, I think you try to reconnect them. And I go into the schools every month, I try to go out in the street and talk to people and so on, but you always have the feeling that somehow that jobs that removes you a little bit and and
Robert Lipsyte 9:42
in your book, and in your speeches, you've talked about the power of the governor. I mean, you talked about the difference between being an Assemblyman in which you were kind of fighting to get bills through the government who can, you know, I mean, so what could be more real than that kind of power over people's lives.
Thomas H. Kean 10:00
Well, it's very real in that sense, but the life is a little unreal. It's very hard, for instance, to have a deep and serious conversation with somebody, they sort of have the idea often if unless you know them very well, hey, I'm talking to the governor. And therefore there's a certain time in which you've got to get over that kind of artificiality time is something very, very precious, you don't really have the time sometimes to sit down as I'd like to do with a group and, and talk about some of the deeper issues involved, you don't have a chance simply to, you know, to go and talk to you a friend who runs a drugstore or the newspaper stand your friend for years, it happens to be
Robert Lipsyte 10:41
Do you have a lot of friends who are drug stores, and newspaper stands that you'd go to for real advice or
Thomas H. Kean 10:47
I don't know if its real advice. But I mean, that people I've enjoyed and become been friends of mine on my life, and you'd like to get ahead and chat with them in the morning and get their point of view, your point of view, and you just don't have the time even to do that. Often. It's something I miss And plus, which I think I need the system personal right now I need to reconnect with young people as a sense of optimism and vision, and so on, that you get with young people that I don't ever want to lose. And I just feel I have the need to do that. And I'm looking forward, frankly, not only to doing kind of presidential things that drew but I want to teach I mean, I want to get into the classroom. Again, I want to sit around in the evening and talk about some of the deep issues and have time to do it with people who are scholars with people who care about these things. And I just
Robert Lipsyte 11:39
think about what you did the last eight years, well, I guess in in a larger context. What and there though, some of those kids are going to ask you to in, in Locke and Hobbes in terms, what what will you be proud of to tell them that you accomplished?
Thomas H. Kean 11:57
Oh, I think we'll be proud of a number of things that somebody said to me the other day, it's a hard administration to define because unlike some administration's you can point to a, b, and c. And those are the three big things. I think we've done so many things across the board in so many areas, almost not an area of government that I don't think we've improved in some way or other in the state of New Jersey, and to the point where we're being copied by so many other states, it's this
Robert Lipsyte 12:20
Give me an example of something that other states have copy.
Thomas H. Kean 12:23
Well, we redesigned our transportation system, and our transportation Trust Fund where we can now use innovative financing methods to spend Oh, by the time we're finished, we'll have spent almost a billion dollars and renewing our roads and our bridges and our system of mass transportation. And that system of innovating. financing is now being copied by almost the majority of states in this country, or number of our environmental laws are being copied and the way we're pursuing environmental cleanup with recognize number one state now and cleaning up toxic waste will recognize the number one state and cleaning up the ocean dumping when all these things are education reforms have been national models and three education secretaries no row now said New Jersey is a national model and what you should be doing to reform
Robert Lipsyte 13:08
When the kids really put it to you are there going to be mistakes that you're going to have to own up to?
Thomas H. Kean 13:13
I suspect so. And it's harder I think sometimes right now didn't pick those things out. And it will be in hindsight,
Robert Lipsyte 13:20
but there are people who are ready to do it immediately. Oh, yes, I'm excited. Some of the things that you've been criticized for was the inner cities have not necessarily improved in certainly in quality of life. But they have that's another they have the auto insurance, property taxes, and the general overdevelopment of New Jersey with the congestion of roads. How will you answer when the kids say?
Thomas H. Kean 13:45
Well it depends it goes one by one what they're talking about New Jersey city's a lightyears ahead of what they were seven or eight years ago. I mean, there isn't a city in New Jersey where the average pay isn't a lot better, where the working conditions are aren't better. The thing that's pleased me most about the rise the New Jersey's economy and this is a little different than other states is that all people have risen in As a matter of fact in the minority community has risen that a lot faster rate than the rest of the population we have in our cities now doesn't matter which one you go to you so
Robert Lipsyte 14:16
your critics really say that you've written you know, the boom has Reagan boom that, you know, the next governor.
Thomas H. Kean 14:25
There's a great difference. That when I came into office, whenever there was cycles in the national economy, New Jersey was always behind the cycle. In other words, we we were a state if if there was a rise in the economy, New Jersey lagged, if the economy dropped, New Jersey dropped a little bit faster. We're now ahead of every curve. The Northeast does well. Your Jersey is doing better. There is dropping revenues around the Northeast right now your jersey has a problem, but not as bad as other states. We are and the cities again, we have we have And so much to revitalize the long term future of those cities, whether it's the kind of construction that's going around transportation centers and places like Newark and New Brunswick or the aquarium and Camden, which is going to bring in millions of people into that poor city and or, or any of these, when you talk about education.
Robert Lipsyte 15:18
That's a particular kind of symbol that your critics say, you know, he gives an art center here and aquarium there, but still not the basic things that inner cities need.
Thomas H. Kean 15:27
Well that is what the city needs, inner cities need pride that they need to bring people back into the city in the evening, as well as in the daytime. They need that so bad. I can talk about our welfare reform program. For instance,
Robert Lipsyte 15:40
aquarium in Camden, bringing people into the inner city,
Thomas H. Kean 15:44
there was a reason there was reason why every single political leader, Republican and Democrat in southern New Jersey net Camden area said nothing was more important because that aquarium was a catalyst for the new headquarters of campbell soup, for the location of RCA for our museum for Walt Whitman home and our whole waterfront development, which is going to bring more jobs to that city than anything has in the city's history. I mean that and, you know, I could say other things in Camden, again, is a Transportation Center, there's a new federal building, there's a whole bunch of other things we're able to attract. But that aquarium was the catalyst for all of that. And the fact that it's going to attract all those schoolchildren, and all those people not attracted to have some suburban area not attract in some rural area, but attract them back into the city, and the restaurants, and the only asked is going to come around it. And the same thing could be said at the Art Center in New York, I mean, I would point out a lot of things, projects are proud of a Newark. But if we can get that odd set of built, again, that's going to be the same kind of catalysts for the kinds of development but I, you know, we can talk about the housing we've been able to put together we can talk about the public private partnerships in the cities, those cities are now a place of hope. If you ask a real estate developer in New Jersey, who would have said the last place they wanted to go to invest was the cities. They will now say that maybe the first of all,
Robert Lipsyte 17:01
lets also talk about your your advertising campaign. I mean, one thing is clear. in eight years, I think that you've killed the jersey joke. And, of course, no one can say jersey anywhere, everybody is trying to say New Jersey way you say it. But I mean that that sense of Well you call it pride, but whatever it is, between you and Bruce Springsteen, it seems that New Jersey does have a different national image, you must feel that as you go around the country.
Thomas H. Kean 17:31
And that was one of my prime purposes, because I think a state is very much like an individual. If you don't have pride in in what you what you are and what you do, if you don't feel good about what you do, you're not going to do it well. And I think in New Jersey, we had to get the understanding, we could do it as well or better than anybody else in the United States, that it was no problem that we couldn't solve nothing we couldn't do. And once we got that feeling that we in New Jersey could be first class in every sense of the word, then all these problems came second, all these problems that we're having, right now, any of those problems you mentioned, as a solution for him. Some of those solutions take longer than others, some of them politically difficult. But everybody in the state realizes that we can solve any of those problems. They're not that difficult. That is take a little time, maybe a little political courage, but they're solvable at one time, people used to sit back in New Jersey and wonder really, if we didn't have to hand in New York or Philadelphia, or what have you to solve our problem. That's not true anymore. And I think if I have done anything, is to give New Jersey that sense that there's no problem that we can solve in New Jersey really should be second to none.
Robert Lipsyte 18:37
Yeah. Let me let me tell you a personal thought of when when you You said that you were not going to raise taxes, and I was living in New Jersey. Great. And then you raise taxes. The question always was Why? I mean, did you not know what was happening? Oh,
Thomas H. Kean 18:51
I never said that. That's a that's a misapprehension.
Robert Lipsyte 18:54
I read incorrectly. And yeah, if you read it,
Thomas H. Kean 18:58
because what I said at the time was I didn't want to raise taxes, taxes were a last resort. All of that kind of thing. When I came into office, we had a little surprise. The candidates, myself and my opponent have been talking about a maybe $100 million budget problem, which I had no problem with, we could solve that easily. Turned out to be a $600 million.
Robert Lipsyte 19:19
The Democrats left you funny books.
Thomas H. Kean 19:21
Yeah. Well, you know, what they've done is overestimated revenues, and may not have been all their fault. It could have could have been the economy or what have you. But there was a $600 million deficit. We solved that basically the first year by budget, cutting by changes and all that kind of thing. The second year, the depths of the recession hit we had a recession at that point, when I was governor, people forget that was worse than any time we've had since the Great Depression in the state. And that took away another five or $600 million and drops in revenues, that we couldn't sustain and maintain our system of education and we had basically a choice we could either do With a school aid and maintain the kind of excellence that I think we had to shoot for an education, or we could cut out that 1/3 of the person, we have the budget, or cut it way down and balanced the books. And I determined at that point and I didn't recommend the Taxes Legislature eventually passed. But I said, Hey, we got to have some revenues at the time I recommended some alcohols and tobacco, maybe something on gasoline,
Robert Lipsyte 20:23
the next governor of New Jersey, when he sits here, will he be able to say the same thing that you know, Kane left me funny books?
Thomas H. Kean 20:32
I, I hope not. Depends totally on the Edit. We're not gonna live in funny books. Because what we've we've been very clear on our estimations of the revenues and been very upfront with it, we got a problem the same as New York and as bad as New York or Connecticut, but nevertheless a problem and I put that very openly I haven't tried to cover it up for years and people have done in the past. I've said, Hey, we got a problem. Let's try and solve it together. And whether or not that solution sticks for a year, two years, or what have you, it's going to depend is going to depend totally on the on the economy, and probably the national economy because the state economy I think isn't good enough shape now that it will ride a little ahead of the national economy. But if we get into some period where revenues dip in this section of the country or nationally recession or something like that, this state and every other state is going to be in is going to have real problems. On the other hand if revenues come back then the next governor is going to be sitting very happily and smiling and saying I've got money to do what I want
Robert Lipsyte 21:29
who is that going to be?
Thomas H. Kean 21:31
Oh i don't have any idea at this point I'm you know very much for Jim courter Yeah,
Robert Lipsyte 21:38
It was interesting watching your the primaries where you've kind of distanced yourself from all the candidates until quarter one and then came out so strongly for him and and also came out in a way I mean, your your feelings about Florio and you've always had such a statesman like posture and so many things, but you really seem like kind of a gutter fighter when Florio is concerned he brings something out in you What is it?
Thomas H. Kean 22:05
Oh I don't know if he brings anything out in me I he touches some bite, what do you have a particular you have a particular pride and a state and the way it's been run, you really wants to see somebody continue policies and programs and continue the kinds of things you've tried to build. And I've been very worried frankly about Jim Florio governorship because I don't think he would continue those policies and programs. And I think he has a very different philosophy than I do. But how you run the state, I think he's his whole rational career shows he's generally been sort of anti growth, anti development. And he's one frankly, who's always turned to taxes, the first solution rather than the last solution,
Robert Lipsyte 22:46
but also, you know, the criticisms of us the overdevelopment of New Jersey, and the kind of the choked high ways and the spool and then the lack of planning, and you did turn to taxes, but I'm not defending Florio. What I'm interested in, is these these kind of two sides of Tom Kane, you know, the, the statesman who's so often above the fray, and then when Florio is concerned, you know, they're also in the Democratic Convention, that kind of fighter side of you
Thomas H. Kean 23:18
I think when, first of all, I don't think anybody can succeed in a job like this unless you're willing to fight what you believe for, not what you believe in, rather. And secondly, I was, I think, been a bit of a fighter of the state of New Jersey, and for what's best for the state of New Jersey, and I'll continue to do that. I mean, it's a I don't know if it's two sides, it simply is when things become very, very important. You fight for
Robert Lipsyte 23:44
the Republican Party as well, I'm
Thomas H. Kean 23:45
the future of the state is what's at stake. I mean, that's, that's key. And that's most important. And I will fight as hard as I can for the kind of future I think the state ought to have. We've moved. Now, when I ran for office, the big problem we had was jobs, we had a 10 11 12% unemployment rate, and we really were rusting as a state. We've done a number of things cut five different taxes. Put together that transportation program, an awful lot of things now to bring the economy back. That economy is now back and now we're moving into the next phase. We are we are leading the country in state planning another we haven't planned we're leading the way the only state that's moving forward with a state plan. We're the only state that I know of is moving head with greenways and beltway,
Robert Lipsyte 24:30
Florio would stop that kind of progress.
Thomas H. Kean 24:33
I haven't seenany sign that he would continue it.
Robert Lipsyte 24:36
were you concerned at all in in the in that sense, when when two of quarters campaign aides resigned rather than it the implication was embarrass him by being involved in what seems to be the growing HUD scandal.
Thomas H. Kean 24:52
Well, I think that was rather good and they put because neither of them had been implicated personally in any way whatsoever. They meant that they have an employee And only because they happen to work at the time for one of the firms that went to the agency and tried to try to get a housing development moved the fact that they were willing to resign and remove themselves so that even by implication, it couldn't be an issue I think was a was a good sign I think is a good sign for the quarter campaign but particularly a good sign for them in their people of integrity to remove themselves so that they do not become the issue
Robert Lipsyte 25:26
You didn't feel that in the public mind. It would number one implicate courter and and to remove some of that possibility of using corruption as a way of attacking Florio, the Camden connection, the courthouse and politics that have always, you know, kind of been attached to him?
Thomas H. Kean 25:47
Well. First of all, I think that the public is smarter than people think they are. I mean, they know they've read the stories, they know how awful his head scandal is. And they also know that to these two individuals, not involved personally in any way whatsoever, and, and therefore that there's no connection to congressman courter his candidacy whatsoever. It was anybody who was at a political life of absolute integrity, it's been Jim courter, I think anybody's ever criticized at an end, to think that somehow that would give quarter a problem if he wants to do so in attacking the kind of corruption and mismanagement and you know, that kind of thing. The Philadelphia Inquirer and Camden curry have pointed out that Florida has been involved in in Camden County, I just I don't think there's a connection, the public can very easily make that connection
Robert Lipsyte 26:34
we're almost out of time. Let me jump ahead. If you do the kind of job you want to do at drew University, you're the good president of drew a Jeffersonian president, you think you'd be ready to become president of the United States?don't want the job.
Thomas H. Kean 26:50
I think you've got to feel much better quality.
Robert Lipsyte 26:52
I have to tell you that Donald Trump already declared on this program. So we're prepared.
Thomas H. Kean 26:58
No, I'm not about to I I think you've got to feel if you want to be president, United States, first of all, which You're the best, qualified person bar none? I don't think I am. No, I think there are other people who are as well or better qualified. And the second thing you got to believe is that you'll sacrifice anything, family, recreation, whatever, in order to get out there about three years in advance and work for the job. And I've never been willing to sacrifice my family and this kind of thing for anything, really. And so I'm not, but but I do. I do believe this. He said, Jeffersonian, I believe it's time for people to leave office after a period of time. I mean, I'm glad we've got a two time limitation in New Jersey, I need to step out for a while. If this country was smart, it would put a limitation on the United States Congress, which is really corrupt by the tense of tenure more than anything else. I mean, it has too many people down there for too long. Let's turn over the pullet bureau. So I am a Jeffersonian in that sense. I'm glad I'm getting out of is at this point, I think I need to reconnect with youth and I'll always be involved and always loved the political process, but I'm looking forward to running Drew university.
Robert Lipsyte 28:08
Okay, Tom Kane we're going to check back with you. Thank you very much. This is the 11th hour I Robert Lipsyte
Interview concludes. Lipsyte thanks Governor Kean.
Robert Lipsyte announces show and introduces himself. Show ends.
Show credits run over The Eleventh Hour graphics.
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Description: The Eleventh Hour - Title: Governor Kean (New Jersey) Guest: Governor Thomas Kean Description: Robert Lipsyte conducts a one-on-one interview with New Jersey Governor Thomas Kean. Original Broadcast Date: 7-3-89
Keywords: Thomas Kean
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