Trenton – Jesse Edwards is Trenton’s “real” candidate, her friends say.

Her struggle is also real.

The 33-year-old mother and protégé of Congressman Bonnie Watson Coleman overcame teenage pregnancy and homelessness to become a real estate entrepreneur in the capital.

At age 19, she recalled living in an orphanage with her young daughter.

“You think it can never be me, but when I went there, all I saw was me,” Edwards told more than 100 supporters, including former Trenton Mayor Doug Palmer and Mercer County Council of Commissioners. Sam Frisbee, while she was at large. The campaign starts Thursday at Coopers Riverview. “There we found hope.”

The daughter of working-class parents who made a living in the military and worked in New Jersey has joined a crowded field of candidates vying for three seats in the Trenton election.

Edwards, who lived in almost every part of the capital, remembered growing up with cousins ​​who were like “brothers and sisters.”

In their youth, they chased ice cream around the neighborhood. But life for Edwards was not always peaches and ice cream.

In high school she was bullied and teased, she fell behind in her grades because she had to take summer courses to finish it on time in 2006.

In her first year of college, she became pregnant with her first child. She lost her home and job and got on state aid.

While living in an asylum, Edwards voted for Barack Obama in the historic election in which America elected its first black president.

She made a plan of how to get on her feet, and enrolled her daughter in kindergarten, getting her first “real job” at Mercer Street Friends.

Wanting to give her daughters a “two-parent home,” Edward suffered from a harsh relationship and thought, and even tired, of leaving Trenton for a moment. But she couldn’t.

“My heart is here,” she said. “I had to fight for myself and my children and I will fight for you to the best of my ability. I will never give up because I never gave up. “

Tracy Sifax, a well-known business owner and Edwards teacher, first met the candidate at large in the boxing hall.

She did not hesitate to lace up her gloves, and Sifax compared her spirit to Muhammad Ali, a famous heavyweight legend.

“She will enter the ring. She will apply Vaseline on her face and do it, ”Sifax said. “She is a technician and a professional … who will go to the mayor’s office and fight for us.”

And she will fit right into the circle of fierce political fighters in the Trenton government if Mayor Reed Hussein and the council kick him out.

The board is moving forward with another lawsuit aimed at blocking one of the mayor’s orders, which approves millions in spending on contracts for the health and safety of Trent residents.

Violence has intensified sharply over the past two years, with Trenton eclipsing and bringing the murder record of 40 people closer.

Edwards noted the names of the people she grew up with who died as a result of gun violence.

Supporters recognized her organization and leadership of anti-violence marches and said they knew she would advocate for the same in her post.

“I see myself in you. I see what I need, and here I am, ”said Brandi Robinson, founder of the StillHere Anti-Violence Initiative. “I know your job and I stand behind your work.”

“We have to give preference to children. At what number of deaths will we realize, “Okay, it’s time for a change?” We can no longer look from the rostrum and point fingers, ”said friend Eric Bulak.

In 2014, Edwards collaborated with then-Mayor Eric Jackson in setting up a youth council and launching advocacy initiatives.

In 2020, she was among those who went foot to foot with John Scarpattipresident of the Italian-American Mercer County Festival Association, while the city has removed a statue of Christopher Columbus for decades amid calls for racial justice.

Pastor Karen Hernandez-Granzen said Edwards was not “swallowing his voice.”

And she has no plans to start now that staff find themselves working in appalling conditions under the disappearance of missing city clerk Matthew Conlan, whom three women have accused of sexual harassment.

He left the clerk’s office in disarray while on medical leave.

Edwards called for more accountability from lawmakers and an end to the “awkward headlines” coming out of City Hall.

She said council members need to go back to municipal business and stop stroking their egos.

“You deserve a city council with a goal and a plan,” said Edwards, who called herself a catalyst for change. “I’m not all that state, but I’m full of promise and potential.”

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