Local Talk pays tribute to U.S. Congressman Donald M. Payne, Sr. He was a father to millions, especially in the African American Community in America and in Africa as well. Local Talk sends its condolences to his family members and friends, and we pray for his soul. We all will miss his calm nature and steadfast decision making habits. Even though he sits and interacts with the powerful, his heart was always with the people. He made an impact on many lives and will be remembered for decades to come.
Payne helped millions over his term as congressman through non-profit organizations. He did a phenomenal job as far as Essex County and his district are concerned. He was a key person to bring financing to many projects, especially in his hometown of Newark. He was the unofficial head of the Essex County Democratic Party. Whoever looks to fill his congressional seat will have big shoes to fill.
As I heard, many persons want to jump into the race. Newark Councilman Ronald C. Rice, Jr. announced he would run against Donald Payne Sr. in the June primary. Now due to his departure, the names that have come to surface are New Jersey State Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver, Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo, Irvington Mayor Wayne Smith, and maybe one of Donald Payne Sr.’s family members, perhaps his son. These names just came by on one day, and there will be more names to surface. It is too early to predict, but it will be very interesting to see who will take his vacant spot.
In Orange, the petition filing deadline has passed. For the Mayoral candidates, Mayor Eldridge Hawkins, Jr., Janice Morrell, Dwayne Warren and Edward Marable have filed their petitions. For the three council-at-large seats Elroy Corbitt, Hassan Abdul-Rashid, Rayfield Morton, Donna Williams, April Gaunt-Butler, Dwight Holmes, Stephanie Blane and Nick Pirro have filed petitions. Except Hawkins, everyone has to wait for their background checks. Nick Pirro claimed his residency in Orange, and he grew up in Orange as everyone knows. However, his driver’s license has an address in West Orange. This issue will be decided by the court system and finally by the county. I feel that it is a candidate’s responsibility to prove their residency in a town, not the opponents. I wish all of the candidates the best of luck. Mayoral interviews will start immediately, so the official candidates can contact Local Talk as soon as possible to set up an interview.
The School Board elections will take place in April. This time, Mayor Booker has taken keen interest in the board election. I have seen some of the candidates trying to convince the voters. My thinking is little different. The members of the board are making decisions for the children. The members are elected by adults over 21 years of age. Who knows what is best for the school system? I think those students who just finished their high school graduation know what is best and what needs to change. So in my opinion, the lawmakers should make an exception for the school elections to allow voters who are 18 years of age.
Have a wonderful week. I’ll talk to you next week.