Assemblyman John F. McKeon was first elected to the New Jersey General Assembly on November 6, 2001 and is currently serving in his seventh term. From 1998 – 2010 he also served as Mayor of West Orange and as a member of the Town Council from 1992-1998 prior to this. John is a former Chairman of the Assembly’s Environment and Solid Waste Committee, while he now serves as Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Vice-Chairman of the Environment and Solid Waste Committee, and is a member of the Financial Institutions and Insurance Committee. His previous leadership positions in the Assembly have included time as Deputy Speaker, Majority Whip, Assistant Majority Leader and Assistant Majority Whip.
John is one of the state’s leading legislative advocates for protecting New Jersey’s environment. In 2004, he authored the historic Highlands Water Protection and Planning Act to safeguard thousands of acres of land in the Highlands Region- the source of drinking water for half the state’s residents. He was a prime sponsor of the landmark Global Warming Response Act and the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) – which set a mandatory cap on greenhouse emissions of carbon dioxide. John has also strengthened New Jersey’s nationally renowned recycling programs by sponsoring the Recycling Enhancement Act and Electronic Waste Recycling Act. He is also proud to have sponsored pro-business regulations that offer incentives for New Jersey businesses and individuals to invest in clean, renewable energy.
In addition to legislation protecting the environment, John has been on the forefront of many issues, such as criminalizing racial profiling and authorizing funding for stem cell research. He has also sponsored the New Jersey Smoke Free Act, which bans smoking in indoor spaces, has championed tort reform, and authored a law that requires newly constructed affordable housing units, also known as “Mt. Laurel Units,” to be built for adaptable use by physically disabled persons and the elderly. In 2007 he sponsored a bill that capped local property tax increases at 4% per year, and in 2010 he sponsored the law that reduced this cap even further to 2%. John is seen as a leader on equality issues, with his sponsorship of the Domestic Partnership Act, New Jersey’s Civil Union Law, a bill to enact marriage equality, and the Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights. One of his proudest achievements is his celebrated 2008 organ donation legislation, also known as the “New Jersey Hero Act,” which amongst other stipulations, requires residents to make organ donation decisions before applying for a driver’s license.
Throughout his time in office, John’s influence has been able to reach beyond just his colleagues in the Legislature. Several of his ideas have been met with widespread approval by New Jersey voters in the ballot box over the years. A 2006 referendum that he sponsored allowed for the usage of a portion of sales tax revenue to be allocated as a permanent source of funding for the restoration of State and local parks. In addition, his sponsorship of a 2005 referendum led to the funding of a diesel retrofit program that has resulted in a reduction of carcinogens released into the air by diesel engines. In 2007 and 2009, he sponsored the ballot questions that were approved by voters to provide hundreds of millions of dollars in state funding to preserve open space through the Garden State Preservation Trust Fund, one of the country’s most successful land preservation programs to date.
John Francis McKeon was born on June 3, 1958 in Montclair, New Jersey. He was raised in the Townships of Orange and West Orange, where he graduated from West Orange Mountain High School. In 1980 he graduated Cum Laude from MuhlenbergCollege and earned his Juris Doctorate from Seton Hall University School of Law in 1983. John is recognized by the New Jersey Supreme Court as a certified trial attorney and is a partner at the law firm of Hardin, Kundla, McKeon and Poletto located in Springfield, New Jersey. He currently resides in West Orange with his wife, Ann Mader McKeon, Esq. and their three daughters, Lacey, Melissa and Jaclyn.