TRENTON, NJ — December 6, 2022 – Trenton’s South Ward Candidate Damian G. Malave spoke out today to voice his objections to brutal and hurtful campaign attacks that have permeated this Trenton election cycle.
“I first want to clear the air about one misconception about my own campaign,” said Malave. “I have NEVER personally maligned my opponent or spoken ill of her, her family, or her background. My question has been, and is, about using a name on the 2022 election ballot that Ms. Kettenburg has admitted is not her legal name.”
Malave said he remembered paying his respects at the viewing of one of his opponent’s family members when he ran against her in 2018. In a recent news article, Kettenburg suggested that before his death, her father requested she change her name. Yet, in the same article, Kettenburg also admitted that she has never legally changed her name to date.
While Malave sympathizes with the emotional nature of the request, he still feels that the name change needed to be legal before it was used on an official election ballot.
“I have seen accusations that people professing to be my supporters are questioning whether Ms. Kettenburg is Latina or not,” Malave shared. “I do not condone this behavior and ask everyone, including my supporters, to immediately stop inserting this in the campaign. “
“Ms. Kettenburg and I have dedicated our time to causes within our community. We are both seeking to uplift the South Ward and make it a better place,” continued Malave. “No matter who the winner is in the South Ward council race is, it is critical that we work together.”
Malave said after his parents came to Trenton from Puerto Rico, they became devout parishioners of the Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Assumption. The family attended Mass regularly and supported the church’s missions and charities.
When Malave and his wife, Felita, started their own family, the couple continued regularly attending Mass with their four children and began visiting other churches in the community.
“As part of my journey through faith, I’ve had the privilege of meeting and working with other local faith-based leaders,” said Malave. “I thank God for their work in the community and for providing me with the opportunity to support their efforts. My thanks especially to Pastors Jose Rodriguez, Felix Cruz, Roberto Tovar, and John H. Harris, Jr.”
“I also appreciate the support given by Tyrell Smith of the South Ward Neighborhood Association,” Malave continued. “Tyrell is extremely committed to the resurgence of our South Ward community.”
Malave said his strong faith led him to the decision to come out and call for people to stop what he said are “vicious and insensitive” social media attacks. Many of the aggressive actions are initiated by those cloaked by the protection of anonymity.
“Online posts have replaced face-to-face interactions, allowing people to become keyboard warriors,” Malave said. “This election has yielded particularly vicious commentary addressed at many candidates and their families. In addition, since the at-large runoff race was announced, all three top voters have continued to be subjected to nasty and venomous attacks. The social media assaults have not been limited to the at-large contest.”
“Voters have complained to me that they are tired of the negativity and want to know how the candidates plan to make things better in our greater Trenton community,” continued Malave.
As the South Ward candidate sees it, the issues have often been distorted to swing votes. In any case, Malave says he is disgusted by the tone directed at just about every candidate seeking to serve the city.
“One of my favorite bible verses reminds me there is “not a righteous man on earth who continually does good and who never sins,” shared Malave. “We need to follow the golden rule and treat others how we want to be treated, including forgiving those we feel have “trespassed against us.”
Malave invited all to learn more about his platform and his vision for a better South Ward by visiting his website and Facebook page. His name appears in Column A on the December 13 election ballot.