TRENTON – If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.

On Dec. 2, Judge Robert Loogie issued an opinion upholding the city council’s second seats, which argued that the city should have a second at-large election.

Caja Manuel, Alex Bethea and Tywanda Terry-Wilson successfully argued that Trenton City Clerk Brendan Garcia used the wrong formula to determine the majority for the three available council seats.

Like the top three vote-getters, the group has joined forces as the runoff approaches.

Manuel, who filed the challenge that led to Lughi ordering a runoff, offered insight into the alliance’s rationale.

“I didn’t have a goal to unite with anyone. I see it as running alongside two other candidates who share my values. Ty, Alex and I teamed up and united in one word, PRINCIPLE. Our lawsuit is what brought us together because we believe it is vital that the people of Trent have a council that at least half of the voters voted for. It’s a democracy, and it’s a core part of our set of values.”

“Now we go into this trial, and now into the runoff, knowing that the top three vote getters are not only going to fight and try to stop us from moving forward, but that the top three vote getters the number of votes, will also be silent about the transparency of elections. elections,” Manuel said. “They were willing to bypass the will of the people and denigrate democracy to get into office, and that worries all three of us. Every support and every penny they received was from those who would benefit, directly or indirectly, from their tenure. This is what makes our group different. We put people first and will fight to make sure their voices are heard, just as we did when we won this lawsuit. That’s why we united.”

Terry Wilson added, “With the divisions Trenton faces almost daily on all fronts, the anomalies and disparities in the November 8, 2022 election were too egregious to accept. It became very easy to work with Mr. Manuel and Mr. Bethea to make sure that the voice and will of the people of Trentonia were heard. It means working for people. I work together with two people who share my main concerns: principles and people over politics.”

As a team Terry-Wilson hopes the trio can start “independence and growth” in the capital.

“Have cleaner and safer streets, less gun violence and senseless killings that traumatize families and communities. Put an end to illegal dumping and try to improve the quality of life for every Trentonian by ending the poverty caused by discrimination and the red line that concentrates poverty in one area, which is then left without investment.”

“This can be done by promoting economic development and creating opportunities for housing value diversity so that every resident can benefit and contribute to our economy and tax base at some level. I also hope to lead conversations to resolve student conflicts, as children are our future and how they resolve conflicts will have a direct impact on their educational success and their school climate. Finally, I hope to restore dignity and respect, civil discourse and honor to the council and to the work,” Terry-Wilson said.

Manuel added, “We will restore quality, constructive, people-centered governance to Trenton. We will uphold the will of the people and hold people accountable when they deviate from it. But just as importantly, we will work constructively and collaboratively with the mayor and other council members to serve the people and meet the needs of the city.”

“Brighter and brighter streets, direct investment in people and communities throughout Trenton, improved access to information and an open door policy with real business hours dedicated to residents are just a few of the ways we plan to be innovative. This election is about innovation, investing in our city to make it better, and improving how we communicate with residents.”

Each of them offered the last word to the residents of the capital.

“I would like residents to know that Manuel, Terry-Wilson and Bethea are not running a shale company in the traditional sense,” Manuel said. “We run three separate companies that work together to support each other because we are driven by two principles — transparency and people.”

Manuel continued, “Serving the people of Trenton in a transparent way and what we all need. Yes, we work together, but we see ourselves working side by side and supporting each other while maintaining the same vision for Trenton. A SUPER PAC or special interest committee didn’t throw money around like the real estate lobby did for our opposition.”

“Instead, we came together solely because of our love for the city of Trenton and those who live within its borders,” Manuel said. “We strive to put people above politics, above developers’ profits, above everything else. The people of this city should be a priority for those running for council, and I strongly believe that the three of us have proven our integrity and our commitment to that through our successful trial. We defended Trenton’s democracy and the right of the people to choose their council. Now we’re asking our fellow Trentonians to vote for us because we’re going to do what’s good for all of us – even if special interests and powerful people tell us not to.”

Terry-Wilson said: “We value your votes. We understand the importance of all stakeholders—residents, businesses, community partners, and elected officials—creating a vision of what we want for the community, developing a plan to make it happen, and working in unison to achieve a goal that is is a safer, cleaner, healthier and economically sound Trenton. The very first and most important step is to vote. In a city of 91,000, our civic engagement is a reflection of how serious we are about moving our city forward. I completely understand the apathy. We have to do things differently to get different results. We successfully secured a runoff because it was meant to be. This is an example of what leadership that works for people looks like. He can be quiet and professional, but strong and steadfast. I think this type of leadership is needed at this time. Residents will decide if they want it now by completing the mail-in ballots that have arrived for those voting by mail, and those voting in person will decide at the polls on January 24, 2023. I encourage you to get involved in the direction of our city . Vote and you will be heard.”

Bethea agreed with Mr. Manuel’s answers.

Previous reports by the Trentonian contributed to this article.

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