Flashpoint Irvington: Rice Backs Beasley and the Vauss Team

Black and Latino legislators, civil rights organizers and faith leaders will demonstrate their solidarity in a unified call to action behind state veteran Senator Ronald L. Rice to prioritize passage of a package of bills that address marijuana decriminalization and expungement, as well as the juvenile justice system.

IRVINGTON – You’d think the presence in the contest of a fellow Marine running against the daughter of a political nemesis might propel the inner rebel in state senator Ronald L. Rice (D-28) to go rogue this year. But it’s not happening.

“I support Team Irvington Strong,” Rice told InsiderNJ, defending on the Nov. 5th ballot against a South Ward challnge by  Al-Tariq Ibn Shabazz.

“You can question the mayor [Tony Vauss] on his point of view, on politics, on anything – but you cannot question his commitment to the Township of Irvington,” said Rice, whose longtime loyal ally, North Ward Councilman David Lyons, died this past summer, but not before aligning with the local party organization run by Vauss.

“That township is moving in the right direction, and when you see that kind of rhythm, you don’t run against it,” added the veteran.

What about South Ward Councilwoman Jamillah Beasley?

“I support her,” said Rice. “She is on a team that is doing good work for the people of Irvington.”

With the backing of the Essex Democratic Committee and then-newly elected Newark Mayor Cory Booker (who had defeated Rice for the mayoralty a year earlier), Beasley’s father ran against Rice in 2007 in one of the most storied Democratic Primary battles of recent vintage.

Rice narrowly beat him.

The senator said the late Mr. Beasley made a mistake when he challenged him, the consequence of getting too enmeshed in county politics.

His daughter’s challenger now, in the senator’s judgement, is mistaken to go up against the incumbent.

Moreover, Rice said he backs his LD28 running mates, Assemblyman Ralph Caputo and Assemblywoman Cleopatra Tucker, who like Beasley and Team Irvington Strong, occupy the line in the Nov. 5th general election.

“Look, I didn’t support my own son [Ronald C. Rice] when he ran for council in 2006 [against incumbent Councilwoman Mamie Bridgeforth] because I believe the incumbents were doing a good job,” said the Newark West Ward-based lawmaker. “I think Councilwoman Beasley is doing a good job, and so is the mayor. They are committed to the welfare of Irvington. I like the results I am seeing there.”

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