Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Newark-Completion of the Mandate

A little over a month ago one of our "Key Black Race(s) of the Moment" was the bitter election for Mayor of Newark, New Jersey.

Once vanquished challenger Cory Booker took on the two decade reign of "Mayor for Life" Sharpe James. While James declined to run for a sixth term and engage in a re-match with Booker, his surrogate and Deputy Mayor and State Senator Ronald Rice did make the race only to be smoked by Booker.

Mayor-Elect Booker won 70% of the vote on May 9 and three of his "Team Booker" City Council candidates also won.

Yesterday was the runoff for the remaining six spots on the Newark City Council. The Mayor-Elect campaigned hard for the last six seats, saying he needed a council to embrace the changes on which he campaigned.

The city responded to the call for change and gave all six of the "Team Booker" candidates victories. A result that means on July 1 when the Mayor-Elect and City Council are sworn into office the city will be seeing the biggest shift in political power in 36 years.

In 1970 Newark saw a similar transformation when Kenneth Gibson became the city's first African American Mayor.

Last nights results were also a landmark moment for Latinos in Newark as three Hispanics will now serve on the Council for the first time.

With the elections now over, it is time for "Team Booker" to make good on the promises of increasing economic opportunity, improving education, lowering crime and reconstructing the city's battered image. No small feat even for a Mayor with an overwhelming mandate and a handpicked Council.


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