NEWARK – North Ward Councilman Anibal Ramos Jr. kicked off his campaign for a fifth term on Friday, announcing his intentions in front of a large crowd of supporters that included Mayor Ras J. Baraka, Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo and Senate Majority Leader M. Teresa Ruiz.
Councilman Ramos, who was first elected to the City Council in 2006, will run on the Team Baraka slate in the May 10 non-partisan municipal election.
“I am grateful and honored for the opportunity to serve this great city and its residents,” Councilman Ramos told the crowd gathered under a tent in the parking lot of his Little City Hall office on Bloomfield Avenue. “Newark afforded me with an opportunity to serve others for over 25 years.”
Mayor Baraka called Ramos “innovative and creative” and said he counts on Ramos’s independent thinking on difficult decisions facing the city.
“When you are making these decisions, you have to have people who love the community, who love the city and who have no other alternative motives, but to make sure Newark is great and that its families are doing well,” Mayor Baraka said. “Ramos has certainly been that person. I
I'm proud to stand here with him.”
Sen. Ruiz, who has known Councilman Ramos since they started working in politics on opposing teams, said he embodies the classic American story.
“When you hear the story of his parents and his upbringing, it is the story of the next generation owning a home in the North Ward. It is the story of someone who's never turned his back on what the truth of Newark is,” Ruiz said. “We all believe in this city, the same way our parents believed in it when they picked it to raise their families. It is the story of that same legacy to leave a better place for the next generation.”
County Executive DiVincenzo praised Ramos not only as an elected official, but also in his role as a member of the DiVincenzo administration. Ramos is the director of Essex County Department of Citizen Services.
“The reason he is such a great elected official is because he knows about all levels of government,” DiVincenzo said. “He knows how to help people and he does it each and every day. I couldn’t be more proud of this young man.”
Others speaking on behalf of the councilman included Council President Luis Quintana and Essex County Sheriff Armando Fontoura. Several members of Team Baraka attended the kickoff: At Large Councilmen Carlos M. Gonzalez and C. Lawrence Crump and At-Large Candidate Louise Rountree as well South Ward Council candidate Patrick Council. Assemblywoman Eliana Pintor Marin, who represents the district, was also in attendance. Mo Butler, a partner at Mercury Public Affairs, was the event’s emcee.
Over the years, Ramos has numerous accomplishments to add to his resume as a member of the City Council. He led the charge to rebuild the dilapidated Newark Schools Stadium, he advocated for the construction of two elementary schools and the renovation of the vacant North 13th Street School for a new KIPPNJ elementary school.
Under the councilman’s leadership, the city also created two special improvement districts on Mount Prospect Avenue and Bloomfield Avenue/Lower Broadway to help improve businesses along the thoroughfares.
During his tenure, he advocated for the creation of a 30,000-square-foot recreation center on Grafton Avenue and the transformation of a salvage yard into more than 100 units of affordable housing.
The councilman was also instrumental in the creation of the city’s Green Acres program, which provides funding for open space purchases and parks improvements.
Councilman Ramos has also been a champion of working families. Most recently, he sponsored legislation to protect subcontracted janitors, security officers, and door attendants from losing their jobs for 90 days when a contract changes hands through no fault of their own.
Looking forward, Ramos said he will continue to work on the 8.5-mile greenway that will collect Montclair to Jersey City along an old Conrail Line. A portion of the greenway runs through the North Ward.
He said he would also continue advocating for paving projects in the North Ward, a special improvement district along Broadway and for quality education options for Newark children and families.
“I want to continue to serve as the taxpayers best friend who maintains an independent voting record and will fight every day to ensure that the North Ward gets its fair share of public resources, city services and police protection,” the councilman said.