ORANGE, NJ — The Orange Democratic County Committee formally endorsed East Ward Councilman Kerry Coley for mayor in the upcoming May municipal election on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, on Monday, Jan. 18.
“We believe Councilman Coley has the experience as a retired law enforcement professional, taxpayer and family man to help solve the issues of reducing crime, stabilizing taxes and enhancing the quality of life for all Orange residents,” Orange Democratic County Committee Chairwoman Shelley Alexander said Monday, Jan. 18. “He knows the importance of increasing youth and senior programs and attracting employment opportunities to the city of Orange Township. He will also pay attention to cleaning our dirty streets and make Orange more business-friendly.”
Alexander said it might seem “a stunning reversal” for the same committee that endorsed incumbent Mayor Dwayne Warren during his successful first run for public office four years ago to go against him by endorsing Coley, but she said that anyone who knows the track records of both men will understand the logic of the committee’s decision.
Alexander said Coley is a former Orange Democratic County Committee chairman who was instrumental in reviving the group after four years of former Mayor Eldridge Hawkins Jr.’s lethargic leadership. Coley worked with Orange Democratic County Committee Executive Director Anthony Salters and other committee stalwarts like current West Ward Councilman Harold J. Johnson and West Ward District Leader William Hathaway, to breathe life into it.
But Alexander said the same cannot be said for Warren.
“We, as the Democratic district leaders in Orange, were shocked and extremely disappointed that Mayor Warren crossed us and crossed over to support Republican Gov. Chris Christie, instead of joining us to support the first female Democratic candidate for governor, Barbara Buono,” Alexander said. “Gov. Christie’s positions on Planned Parenthood, gun control, removing an African-American judge on the New Jersey Supreme Court, attacking public education and union-busting tactics is totally contrary to Democratic values and what most of us Orange residents stand for. Kerry Coley is a true Democrat and will work tirelessly to promote and uplift the people of Orange, regardless of race, income, religion or gender.”
Warren could not be reached for comment about the Orange Democratic County Committee’s endorsement of Coley by press time this week.
Coley said he is glad for the support and thankful for the endorsement. He said it proves there are a lot of people in Orange that want a change in leadership and a better direction for the city and its people.
Coley is running for mayor at the top of a ticket that includes incumbent Councilwoman at Large Donna K. Williams and newcomers Vanessa Arroyave and Christopher Jackson.
“I am humbled and gladly accept the support of the members of the Orange Democratic County Committee,” Coley said Monday, Jan. 18. “We have fought for four years to bring back pride to a great Democratic organization through toy drives, coat drives, book drives, food giveaways, voter registration and other activities. Our campaign is growing daily, with the encouragement of residents from all areas of Orange. Our campaign is resonating and touching issues that affect many of our people.”