Long time South Jersey politician and former Atlantic City councilman Jim Whelan has died suddenly, according to an announcement Tuesday night.
"During my nearly eight years in Trenton, I came to know Jim as a forthright and honest leader who's word was his bond. While we did not always agree on policy, he was always willing to listen and reason together," Christie said. "The current comeback of Atlantic City is due in no small part to the efforts and passion of Jim Whelan. Mary Pat and I extend our deepest sympathies and prayers to the entire Whelan family. He will be sorely missed by all who knew him."
State Sen. President Stephen Sweeney said Whelan was a friend to all.
"Jim was rarely one to raise his voice, but was a dogged advocate for Atlantic City, a city he loved dearly, and was determined to see it thrive. He was the author of many of the initiatives that have helped to revitalize Atlantic City and will be remembered for that work for generations to come. He will be missed dearly by all of us who knew him, but his loss will also be felt by the entire state," Sweeney said. "I offer my sincere condolences to his wife, Kathy, their son Richard, and his entire family during this incredibly difficult time.”
Gubernatorial Democratic nominee Phil Murphy also offered his condolences.
"Jim Whelan gave his career to the people of Atlantic City and Atlantic County. Every step of the way — as a public school educator, councilman and mayor of Atlantic City, and later in the Legislature — he put his heart into reviving the city he loved and called home. Jim fought for fairness for working families across the state, and for the betterment of South Jersey's economy and quality of life," Murphy said.
"Tammy and I send our deepest condolences to Kathy and Richard, and to all who had the good fortune to know him far longer than we had. But here is what we all know: New Jersey has lost a class act and a giant."