Advice of Former Councilman Rice to the West Ward Candidates


Ronald C. Rice served as the Newark West Ward Councilman from 2006 to 2014 and took an unsuccessful crack at the 10th District Congressional seat in 2013. The son of state Senator Ronald L. Rice, he coordinated the West Ward portion of his father’s 1998 run for mayor against incumbent Sharpe James, and occupied the West Ward slot on the Booker Team in 2006, the same year the elder Rice ran unsuccessfully for mayor.

Having served the West Ward for eight years, former Councilman Rice has a unique perspective on the ward, and its place within the five-ward political structure of Newark. Now married with two children and working as a federal lobbyist in the nation’s capital, Rice still loves the people and policy side of Newark politics.

On the same week that Newark Mayor Ras Baraka unveiled his team in a citywide holiday message, InsiderNJ sat down with Rice to get his perspectives on the fast-developing contest for the seat being vacated by disgraced Councilman Joe McCallum.

“The West Ward is unique among other wards. The West Ward has always been a residential ward,” said Rice of the ward hit hard by the national foreclosure crisis. “When I was in office people said, ‘Why can’t we put in a bowling alley?’ I don’t have contiguous lots. It was always a place where people wanted to live when they wanted to leave the tenements, like my father did when he left the South Ward, and we moved to the West. What the ward needs – probably more than any other ward – is the quality of life issues addressed.”

Baraka backs the candidacy of rapper and community activist DoItAll Kelly, but there are other candidates in the field, among them attorney Chigozie Onyema, former South Ward Councilman Oscar James II, youth mentor Lyndon Brown, and probably others to come.

Rice’s advice to the candidates?

Walk the ward.

Speak in specifics about policy goals.

Register voters.

For that, and all other Rice perspectives on the West, his reflections on the James, Booker and Baraka administrations, and on Newark politics in general, please check out the video below:





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