Senator Jim Whelan
Senator Whelan was first elected to New Jersey Assembly in 2005 and was elected in 2007 to the State Senate. He is currently serving his second term in the Upper Chamber. As a 2nd Legislative District Legislator, Senator Whelan represents Absecon, Atlantic City, Brigantine, Buena Borough, Buena Vista Township, Egg Harbor City, Egg Harbor Township, Folsom, Hamilton Township, Linwood, Longport, Margate, Mullica Township, Northfield, Pleasantville, Somers Point and Ventnor.
Born in Philadelphia, Senator Whelan attended Temple University, where he became a nationally-ranked distance swimmer. His athletic achievements ultimately led to his induction in the Temple University Athletic Hall of Fame in 1995. After graduating college, Senator Whelan taught swimming at an Atlantic City elementary school and he spent summers working as an ocean lifeguard. He has taught in Atlantic City schools for more than 20 years. Senator Whelan also holds a Master’s in Education degree from Temple.
Prior to serving in the Legislature, Senator Whelan served as an Atlantic City Councilman from 1982 to 1990, and as Mayor from 1990 to 2001. While serving as Mayor, Atlantic City and the region realized significant growth. He brought stability to a government wracked by waste, corruption and incompetence. He reorganized city departments to help clean up the streets, razed hazardous buildings, and lowered the crime rate — all while reducing the number of employees on the city payroll. Under his stewardship, Atlantic City attracted more than $4.5 billion in new business starts and expansions that created thousands of new jobs.
Senator Whelan’s tireless efforts to attract families back to the resort led to the resurgence of the city’s neighborhoods, the redevelopment of the Northeast Inlet, and the construction of new schools and hundreds of new housing units. His pursuit of non-casino attractions brought forth The Walk outlet shops in downtown Atlantic City.
As a member of the Legislature, Senator Whelan has continued to champion issues relating to tourism both in Atlantic City and across the state. As Chairman of the Senate State Government, Wagering, Tourism and Historic Preservation Committee, he authored the law to create the Atlantic City Tourism District, a product from the landmark Legislative Gaming Summit, which Senator Whelan co-chaired. He also sponsored a law that allows mobile gaming in Atlantic City.
A strong advocate for New Jersey’s veterans and active-duty military, Senator Whelan was the prime-sponsor of the law creating the VET each Pilot Program that helps veterans to become teachers as well as a law to create a county ID for military vets in order to make it easier for them to access discount programs and courtesies extended to military personnel.
Senator Whelan also serves on the Senate Environment and Energy Committee and the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee. During his legislative career, his accomplishments have included passage of laws to provide equity in long-term care funding so seniors are not forced into nursing homes, prevent casinos from being shutdown during a budget impasse, and state oversight over large municipal land transactions. Senator Whelan also sponsored a law to enable State colleges to enter into public-private partnerships to build more dormitories and classrooms, a law to address the shortage of math and science teachers in the state, and another law to require mandatory interlock breathalyzers on vehicles of convicted drunk drivers.
Senator Whelan has been married to his wife Kathy, a former elementary school teacher and an accomplished equestrienne, since 1976. They have a son, Richard.