ORANGE, NJ — Oaths of office are usually administered at City Hall, but on July 1 City Hall came to living rooms across Orange as officials elected on May 12 were sworn in. Mayor Dwayne Warren was sworn in for his third term, Councilwoman Adrienne Wooten was sworn in for her second term, and Councilmen Weldon Montague III and Clifford Ross were each sworn in for their first terms.
“We pledge during this administration to be efficient, to be more of a service-oriented organization, and to make proud all of our residents and taxpayers. From development to tax base to education to items that are critically necessary for our seniors, we intend to step up our game and move to the next level,’ Warren said. “Our challenge has been set before us. Coronavirus has issued us a challenge that has been issued globally and certainly here in our corner in Orange. We are going to respond in a way that makes our residents proud, in a way that makes our residents know that we in the government are here for them.”
According to Warren, as the state gradually begins to reopen from lockdown, he will meet with Orange stakeholders to ensure that the city bounces back to the best of its ability.
“It will be all about safety, security and the health of the citizens of the city of Orange Township,” he said. “Going forward I am going to issue you a challenge. I am going to ask you to do more with less. I’m going to ask you to work harder, I’m going to ask you to work smarter, I’m going to ask you to be more responsive and more respectful of our citizens. Going forward, it will be that kind of administration.”
Ready for his first term as a councilman at large, Montague said he was humbled, honored and up to the challenge.
“I will only be making decisions based on the best interests of Orange, New Jersey, citizens. I have allegiance to you. I promise not to cower or fall to outside influences,” Montague said, thanking God, his colleagues, his family and, most of all, his wife, Grace. “I talk too much, I’m always socializing, but she is my backbone, and I appreciate her. I love her.
“I promise I am going to make everyone proud of me,” he concluded.
Ross similarly thanked God, his family, friends and voters, saying he felt “blessed” to be taking the oath of office.
“I am honored and humbled to be elected councilman at large of the great city of Orange, and I am looking forward to working with everyone for the betterment of Orange and its residents,” Ross said. “My one and only interest is to serve the residents of Orange to the best of my ability. This is a moment to celebrate but it is also a moment to gather strength and drive to move forward with my promises of a better city life for all. As we navigate around the city, you can see the many projects that are going on.
“All of these improvements will make the city of Orange a better place to live and grow,” he continued. “I, as your councilman at large, will advocate for complete transparency, accountability between the council, administration and residents. I will work to help stabilize taxes. I will get involved in community relations and policing. I will work to improve our parks, recreation and after-school programs. I will advocate for the small business owners and new businesses to this city. I will work to increase senior citizen outreach. I will advocate to improve our train stations. Yes, we have a lot of work to do, but together we can get it done. We will continue to keep our city a beautiful, progressive and safe place to live, a place we can all call home and be proud of.”
Despite fighting feedback issues, Wooten still made clear what an honor it is to be starting her second term as councilwoman at large.
“The United States Constitution, the primary guiding document on which this nation was founded, begins ‘We the People.’ What an eloquent inclusive statement, ‘We the People,’” she said. “But when the document was drafted and signed on the 17th of September in 1787, the idea of me, a sharecropper’s daughter, born and raised in Greensboro, was not included in that ‘We.’ But through the hard work of trailblazers that came before me, constitutional amendments, civil rights laws and landmark court decisions I can finally say I have been reelected to my second term as councilwoman, that I am included in the ‘We the People.’
“I take pride in knowing I am a councilwoman that is always going to refer to the city code in all that I do,” she continued. “I also know that if the rules aren’t seen to benefit us all, I must research, debate and formulate new rules or amend old rules.”