IRVINGTON, NJ — When East Orange City Council Chairman and 3rd Ward Councilman Ted Green hosted his campaign kickoff at the intersection of Steuben and Winthrop streets in East Orange on Tuesday, Feb. 21, Irvington Township was well represented.
Irvington’s presence was expected because Green serves as the director of the Irvington Building Department in addition to being a longtime friend, Mayor Tony Vauss. The two also share a birthday, and their families have vacationed together for years, all of which was revealed at the campaign kickoff.
“First of all, I’m so excited for not only him, but the city of East Orange and the transformation that this city and community is about to go through,” said Vauss on Tuesday, Feb. 21. “Ted Green has been a long time in this community. He knows what to do. He’s been very successful here as the council chairman, as well as the councilman, and I just look forward to all the great things that come out of East Orange, under the leadership of Mayor Ted Green.”
Vauss stressed Green’s passion for serving people and his community.
“As you can see today, here in the neighborhood where he grew up, he feels strongly about this community; strongly about public safety; strongly about making sure that he provides the right environment for the residents here in East Orange that he loves. I just think it’s a great day here for the city of East Orange,” said Vauss.
Others from Irvington agreed with the mayor’s assessment. Vauss was accompanied by Irvington Public Safety Director Tracy Bowers, Irvington Board of Education members Melody Scott and Ron Brown, and Harry Paden, among others.
Like Green, Scott is a native of East Orange and described herself as a “homegrown girl” who currently lives and works in Irvington.
“I think it’s awesome that he’s running mayor and I think he’s going to do a wonderful job and I’m going to help him get there,” Scott said Tuesday, Feb. 21. “He’s been doing this 20-plus years, so he’s already been in a leadership position. Now, he’s just going to take it to the next level. He’s going to do an amazing job and I’m going to be there to give him 150 percent support.”
Scott said she’s not going to move back to East Orange just because Green is going to be the next mayor, “But I’m going to be a part of whatever East Orange does.” She and Irvington Board of Education member Ron Brown said they plan “to support Ted all the way.”
“We’re both on the Irvington Board of Education and we respect Ted and hope that he will do the best that he can because we’re going to be right here with him; marching with him, walking with him because see he’s homegrown and already home proven that he’s ready to be the Mayor of East Orange and we support him,” Brown said Tuesday, Feb. 21.
“If you think about it, Ted has been a part of the Irvington team since its inception, so we have the same ideas, the same creativity, so we look to work with East Orange in the same way that Ted has worked in Irvington and there’s no daylight,” Bowers said Tuesday, Feb. 21. “So we’re partners in this and we’re going to have success. We’re looking forward to an exciting partnership with the city of East Orange under Ted Green’s leadership.”
Vauss agreed that now is the right time for his friend to ascend to the top of municipal leadership. Both the mayor and Bowers are proud township natives and products of the public school system whose roots to their community and the people run deep, as Green’s do in East Orange.
“It’s being from the community; when you’re from the community you have an investment in the community and you want to see your community grow and prosper,” Vauss said. “Ted is homegrown here. Everyone knows Ted, they know what Ted is about, they know his contributions many years prior to this moment and it’s just leading up to something good, when you’re homegrown like myself in Irvington, and Tracy. We’re homegrown in our communities and it always started with knowing that our communities could do better, they could be better and the way you show that is by getting more involved. And that’s why we’re here today in support of Ted Green for mayor of East Orange.”
Green said he’s grateful for that support from all his friends, including Vauss and Leroy Jones, the chairman of both the East Orange Democratic Committee and Essex County Democratic Committee.
“To my friend, Leroy Jones, thank you, brother,” Green said Tuesday, Feb. 21, adding that Jones has been both a mentor and a friend.
“I’m standing here today because, not only his leadership, not only because the decision he made for me to be here today and feel that I can lead this city, and I’m very grateful, Leroy. I’m very grateful.”
Vauss said he understands his friend’s sentiments, but friendship wasn’t the only reason Jones endorsed Green and gave him the coveted party line on the ballot in the Democratic Party primary on Tuesday, June 6. Green tops the East Orange Democratic Committee slate that includes incumbent East Orange City Council members: 1st Ward Councilman Chris James; 2nd Ward Councilman Romal Bullock; 4th Ward Councilwoman Tyshammie Cooper; and 5th Ward Councilwoman Alicia Holman, and East Orange Board of Education President Bergson Leneus, who is running for Green’s soon-to-be vacant 3rd Ward seat.
“I believe that (Jones) believes in Ted; he believes in the progress and the push in this city to make things better and they’re all in this together,” Vauss said, adding, “Leroy has been a great chairman for the city of East Orange, so he knows their concerns, he knows what’s needed. And also, as chairman of the Essex County Democratic Party. So two of my favorite people in leadership positions over here being able to move this city forward, it helps out Irvington for what we’re trying to do. So I just look forward to it. God bless Ted and we’re here in Irvington to help him in any way that we can.”