Brendan Thomas Byrne (1924-), a Democrat, was the two-term Governor of New Jersey from 1974-1982.
Bryne graduated from Princeton University's School of Public Affairs and later received a law degree from Harvard Law School.
Byrne's landslide election victory for Governor was widely considered a side effect of the Watergate scandal that plagued the Republican White House during the 1973 campaign. In addition to the Governor's office, GOP backlash helped New Jersey Democrats pick up 14 State Senate seats and 25 Assembly seats in the 1973 election.
Byrne was hailed by environmentalists for his 1979 signing of the controversial Pinelands Protection Act, which, in conjunction with federal legislation, established the New Jersey Pinelands and the 1 million acre Pinelands National Reserve.
Those same environmental groups later excoriated him for putting his own name on the Brendan Byrne Arena, part of the Meadowlands Sports Complex project that filled in hundred of acres of natural wetlands in Bergen County. In 1996, the naming rights to the arena were sold to Continental Airlines for $29 million.
Since leaving the governor's office in 1982, he has been a senior partner with the Roseland, New Jersey law firm of Carella, Byrne, Bain, Gilfillan, Cecchi, Stewart & Olstein. Since 1994, he has also served on the Board of Directors of the Mack-Cali Realty Corporation.
His son, Brendan Thomas Byrne, Jr., was the chairperson of the New Jersey Democratic Party from 1994-1997.
In 2002, Governor James E. McGreevey renamed Lebanon State Forest to Brendan T. Bryne State Forest, in recognition of Byrne's dedication to environmentally friendly legislation during his terms.