Newark City Council President Anibal Ramos has decided to run for mayor of the city. In his first public announcement of his candidacy, Ramos told NJ Today Senior Correspondent Desirée Taylor that becoming mayor of Newark would be the next step in his long-term commitment to public service. He said the city needs to rebuild its police department and if elected, he hopes to have a good working relationship with members of the council.
Ramos said exploring the idea of running for mayor provided him with the opportunity to speak with residents throughout Newark. He said he was born and raised in the city, worked at the Newark Board of Education, was part of the county government for more than a decade and a member of the city council for the last seven years. “So for me, those are the things that I think qualify me to be the next mayor of the city of Newark,” he said.
Current Mayor Cory Booker and Police Director Samuel DeMaio yesterday announced a crime fighting initiative hiring 100 civilians to help free up other officers to patrol the streets this summer. Ramos said the plan is a good start, but hopes to be able to do more.
Ramos said city officials have been trying to stabilize Newark’s financial position and this year is the first since he’s been in office where they won’t be dependent on additional state aid as part of the city’s budget process. “That’s gonna allow us to start reinvesting our resources in some critical areas and we definitely need to hire more police,” he said.
According to Ramos, using civilians for communications and other functions is only a first step. “I think the greater issue for us is we definitely need more officers and I’m anxious to work with the mayor this year to put in a class of officers hopefully by sometime in September. But I think long-term, we definitely need to rebuild our Newark Police Department,” he said.
Booker’s relationship with council members has seemingly soured recently. One example is a fiery vote where the mayor tried to replace Donald Payne Jr. with a pick of his own. Ramos said the mayor needs to have regular dialogue with council members.
“Despite some of the perceived divisions, we only have eight members of the council and we’ve been successful in approving probably about 90 percent of the agenda items that go before us,” Ramos explained. “And there are areas of disagreement and I think the mayor needs to have regular dialogue with individual council members to identify priorities and more importantly to work together to get projects done in the individual wards and provide better constituent services.”
Ramos expressed what type of leader he wants to be for Newark. “As mayor, I wanna be a hands-on kind of leader who partners better with his legislative body in order to have a united approach in dealing with our issues and problems,” he said.