(NNPA)—“When I become mayor, we all become mayor.”—Ras Baraka, new mayor of Newark, N.J.
Add Newark to the list of big cities now being headed by a new wave of progressive mayors. On the heels of New York Mayor Bill de Blasio’s successful “economic inequality” campaign last year, another urban crusader, Ras Baraka, was elected mayor of Newark on May 13. A Newark native, city councilman, high school principal and son of the city’s most well-known poet and activist, the late Amiri Baraka, he will be sworn in on July 1.
Baraka succeeds interim mayor, Luis Quintana, who became the acting mayor last October when former mayor, Cory Booker, was elected to the U.S. Senate. Facing an unemployment rate of 13 percent, a resurgence of homicides, and a budget deficit of $93 million, Baraka ran a populist campaign highlighted by his local roots, his experience as an educator and a promise to fight to regain local control of Newark’s public schools, which have been under the jurisdiction of the state for the past two decades.