EAST ORANGE, NJ — The East Orange City Council bade a fond farewell to outgoing 5th Ward Councilman Lonnie P. Hughes on Monday, Dec. 28, 2015.
“From the mighty 5th Ward,” Hughes’ 5th Ward partner, Councilwoman Alicia Holman, said on Monday, Dec. 28. “We’re going to miss your knowledge that you brought to the table. But you’re still just a phone call away.”
Holman wasn’t the only member of the 2015 East Orange City Council who spoke highly of Hughes at his last meeting. Fellow council members who had served with him for varying amounts of time talked about how they would miss the man who played the role of mentor to many, always ready to share his knowledge and wisdom with anyone.
“Councilman Hughes, it’s bittersweet that this is your last meeting,” 3rd Ward Councilwoman Quilla Talmadge said on Monday, Dec. 28. “Thank you for your services. I really don’t know how you’re going to get along without us.”
Talmadge and 2nd Ward Councilwoman Jacqueline Johnson were the two sitting council members at the end of 2015 who had served the longest on the city’s main legislative body with Hughes. Johnson also she was sad to see him leave the council but, since he has agreed to serve alongside her on the National Association of Elected Officials, she would “still being seeing him.”
For his part, Hughes said it would be good to still be seen on the East Orange, Essex County and New Jersey political and social scenes, although he is moving to Maryland. But he said, no matter where he goes, East Orange would always be in his heart and a part of who he is.
“I just want to say that I’m grateful and thankful to all of the people of the 5th Ward that voted for me and allowed me to serve them,” Hughes said on Monday, Dec. 28. “I kind of wanted to run for a third term, but I got a call from a higher power — my wife — who said: ‘It’s time to go.’”
Hughes said he always enjoyed serving as a councilman in East Orange and liked it so much that he would like to continue finding ways to help people and serve his new community in Maryland.
Hughes said that’s why he accepted Johnson’s invitation to serve with her on the national political organization.
“I like doing what I do and that’s helping people,” Hughes said. “Because I was from here and committed to the city, I wanted to do a good job here. I raised three kids here. My son moved to the D.C. area, and you know how the grandparents are. We decided to relocate with them.”
Regardless, Hughes said, “East Orange will always be my home.” He thanked all his council colleagues for their support, saying they were a team and that no man is an island.
“The people of the 5th Ward allowed me to serve and I am committed to them, because they are my boss,” Hughes said. “It’s been fun, folks, but it’s time. And I appreciate all that we’ve done together and all that you’ve done for me. To the three new council members coming on in January, I know that they’re going to do a great job. It’s time to go.”