NEWARK – Lamonica McIver’s journey from English Literature student to councilwoman of the complex Central Ward of Newark, consider the following: she once had a young, dynamic language arts teacher who had a passion for local politics.
His name was Ras Baraka.
Now Baraka serves as mayor and wants a third third.
McIver’s running his the mayor’s ticket for a second term as councilwoman of the Central Ward.
A day after the mayor introduced and the council voted aye on augmentations to an ordinance requiring a percentage of all development projects to contain affordable housing (or requiring a developer to pay into a city affordable housing fund if he or she does not build affordable housing), the councilwoman joined InsiderNJ to talk about the ordinance, development in the ward, politics, and her priorities.
“Pushing forward with this new amendment – and even with some of the new initiatives – we’re looking to get about 10,000 [affordable] units,” McIver said.
She also discussed the impact on her ward and challenges of COVID-19, and the city lead line crisis; and even recommended some of her favorite books.
The Central Ward has featured some significant political collisions over the last 25 years in particular, going back to Cory Booker’s victory over George Branch; and later Charles Bell defeating Eddie Osborne for a seat vacated by Dana Rone. McIver secured the seat as a member of the Baraka team in 2018, when Councilwoman Gayle Chaneyfield Jenkins opted to run for mayor instead of running for reelection as the Central Ward Councilwoman. This year, McIver faces a challenge from Shawn McCray, who serves as the Central High School boys’ basketball coach. Chaneyfield Jenkins was also thought to be eyeing the seat, but she did not file.
As a girl growing up in the ward, she remembers the ubiquitous penny candy trailer.
“A lot of development has changed the ward; it is more vibrant,” McIver said. “The ward is very diverse. You have a college hub; then you have a business hub; a residential; and artsy community. To be able to see that transformation, to have a place of diversity all cohesively living together – it’s a beautiful thing.”
Please see the (FULL!) InsiderNJ Interview with Councilwoman McIver below: