Irvington celebrates Green’s primary win in Orange

Photo by Chris Sykes
East Orange City Council Chairman, 3rd Ward Councilman and 2017 mayoral candidate Ted Green exits the voting booth at Langston Hughes Elementary School for the primary on Tuesday, June 6.

IRVINGTON, NJ — The township of Irvington was well-represented at the primary victory party of East Orange City Council Chairman, 3rd Ward Councilman and now Mayor-elect Ted Green at Bella Italia restaurant in Orange on Tuesday, June 6.

Green also currently serves as the Irvington Building Department’s director in Mayor Tony Vauss’ administration, in addition to sharing the same birth date and a friendship with him. Several of the mayor-elect’s friends and co-workers from Irvington were at his victory party, after he defeated upstart challengers John Thompson Jr. and Kenwyn Williams by getting 6,215 votes compared to their 661 and 76 votes, respectively.

Irvingtonians at Green’s victory party included Melodie Scott, an East Orange native who now lives and works in town; Jamilah Beasley; and her mother, Baseemah Beasley, the widow of former Municipal Council President and Essex County Freeholder D. Bilal Beasley, in addition to serving as the current Irvington Democratic Committee chairwoman.

Baseemah Beasley congratulated Green on his primary win and said good things are on the horizon for Irvington and East Orange. Jamilah Beasley and Scott agreed.

Green also recognized the support he received from his “East Orange Family,” including East Orange Democratic Committee and Essex County Democratic Committee Chairman Leroy Jones and his wife, Jackie; former Assembly speaker Sheila Oliver, for serving as his honorary campaign chairwoman; Vinnie Brown from local hip-hop music group Naughty By Nature; Rita Butts; Catherine Willis; CWA Local 1077 AFL-CIO District 1 President Bennie Brantley; Monique Mumford; Trina Lewis; his City Council colleagues; the Young Professionals of East Orange group; and his “friend,” boss and now fellow municipal leader Vauss.

“I can’t read all these names, because everybody has been special; every one of you played a part in what we do,” said Green on Tuesday, June 6. “I want to introduce a gentleman who, in 2003, we connected, him and I connected, and that connection was because of Irvington, that connection was because we saw that both of us shared in something very similar, and that was all about people. A gentleman who has been my friend, and I say that and I don’t say it loosely, and not only my friend, who is my mayor of the great township of Irvington, none other than Tony Vauss. And when I say ‘friend,’ this guy is my friend, but I work for him and he will fire me if I get out of hand.”

Green then handed the microphone to Vauss, who proceeded to lead the Bella Italia crowd in a chant of “Green in 2017,” before speaking about his friend.

“It’s been a tough journey. Most people don’t know — other than the council people in the room — the hard work it takes to run for office, the commitment it takes, the sleepless nights, just to do the right thing for the people of East Orange,” Vauss said. But I believe tonight the people of East Orange have spoken. Their choice has been made. They were ready to ‘Go Green in 2017.’ It’s been a long time coming and I’m just so happy that Irvington, along with East Orange, is going to move forward to make sure the people come first.”

Green also thanked his Green Team in 2017 running mates: 1st Ward Councilman Chris James, 2nd Ward Councilman Romal Bullock, 4th Ward Councilwoman Tyshammie Cooper and 5th Ward Councilwoman Alicia Holman. James, Cooper and Holman ran for re-election unopposed and got 1,268, 798 and 1,208 votes, respectively. Bullock ran against newcomer and Orange Township employee Khalfani Alleyne in the 2nd Ward, getting 689 votes compared to Alleyne’s 302.

East Orange Board of Education President Bergson Leneus, also a member of the Green Team in 2017, made local history by becoming the city’s first-ever Haitian-American city councilman, beating challenger Jerome Black Sr. with 1,430 votes compared to Black’s 101. Leneus and Black were running to fill Green’s soon-to-be-vacant 3rd Ward seat.

However, Leneus, Green and the other primary winners won’t be able to drop the “elect” from their titles until after being victorious in the general election on Tuesday, Nov. 2, a foregone presumption in East Orange, a Democratic Party stronghold.

“Let me just say this to my council members for allowing me to be where I’m at today and not one time ever did I falter in not acknowledging them, because I never take people for granted, I never took the city of East Orange for granted and I never ever took them for granted,” Green said. “But I have to acknowledge them, because I always say this in public, because the mayor in Irvington always says he’s got the best council in the state of New Jersey. But he don’t know that he and I are going to be battling with that.”

Vauss said he welcomes the challenge from his friend.

In a post to his Facebook page on Thursday, June 8, Vauss said, “To my friend, Councilman Ted R. Green, your accomplishments reflect your potential and hard work. Whatever that accomplishment may be, whether professional or personal, in life, that person deserves words of praises. I am overjoyed with your success. Shine on! Congratulations for always evolving and inspiring others. You’ve made us all so proud.”

Newark Mayor Ras Baraka was also at Green’s victory party at Bella Italia in Orange on Tuesday, June 6, along with East Orange Mayor Lester Taylor and a large contingent from Orange, including Mayor Dwayne Warren and his cousin, Orange Board of Education member Kyleesha Hill-Wingfield; Recreation Department Director Greg Tynes and others.

“Ted Green becoming the mayor of East Orange is going to be a great opportunity for all of us,” said Baraka on Tuesday, June 6. “East Orange moving forward, just like the city of Newark.”

A contingent of Essex County elected officials and Line A Democrats were also on hand, including Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo Jr., Essex County Board of Chosen Freeholders President Britnee Timberlake, Freeholder Rufus Johnson and others.

“I just want to congratulate Ted Green and Team Green and our chairman, Leroy Jones,” DiVincenzo said Tuesday, June 6. “Keep on working hard. This November, we’re going to make sure that the entire Line A wins.”