Orange BOE member kicks off council seat campaign

ORANGE, NJ — Orange Board of Education member and city employee Kyleesha Wingfield Hill didn’t wait until the filing deadline of Monday March 5, when she hosted her official East Ward council seat campaign at the intersection of Wilson and Oakwood places on Saturday, Feb. 10, unveiling her “Bridging the Gap” slogan.

“We had a nice crowd and everybody spoke and endorsed,” said Hill’s campaign manager Akeem Cunningham on Saturday, Feb. 10. Cunningham is an East Orange firefighter and CEO of Young Professionals of East Orange founder and chief executive officer.

Hill, who was appointed by Mayor Dwayne Warren to the school board, will try to unseat East Ward Councilman and City Council President Kerry Coley, who has not officially announced whether he is seeking to keep his seat.

“This is America, the greatest country in the world, where anyone can grow up, work hard and become whatever they want to become,” said Coley on Friday, Feb. 9, when asked if he knew Hill was planning to announce her candidacy the following day. “I am a shining example of what America is all about.”

“I guess that they have to call out the big guns for little ol’ me,” he added. “What can I say?”

“The requirements for running for one of the ward seats are the same as running for mayor or one of the at large council seats,” Orange Clerk Joyce Lanier said Monday, Jan. 22. “You must be a citizen, resident and registered voter of the city of Orange Township for one year prior to the election. The number of signed petitions needed to run for public office varies from ward to ward based on the number of registered voters in each ward. For the North Ward, you need 37 valid signatures. For the East Ward, it’s 44 signatures; West Ward is 34; and South Ward is 47.”

According to Lanier, after a prospective candidate obtains the required number of signatures on their nominating petitions, they turn them in at her office in City Hall on North Day Street so they can be filed and certified in time for the election Tuesday, May 8.

“The filing deadline is March 5 by 4 p.m.,” said Lanier. “They give them to me and I verify the signatures, using the state voter-registration website. The final day for me to verify the signatures is March 12; March 14 is the ballot drawing for positions on the May 8 ballot.”