July 2, 2014
By Marc Bussanich
Newark, NJ—Ras Baraka was inaugurated as Newark’s 40th Mayor outside the New Jersey Performing Arts Center. He got emotional when a reporter asked him about what he’s feeling as Newark’s newest mayor. He said that his policies in his first 100 days in office would be dedicated to the people of Newark.
“The first 100 days are completely dedicated to the people of this city, to make sure that all the things that Newark is [inaudible] that we prayed for, fought for. That God gave me the ability to do today happens, whether it be safe streets, jobs, families that are struggling and a city that everyone can be proud of again,” said Baraka.
Baraka, a former principal at Central High School and Newark councilman, was elected on May 13 by beating former assistant attorney general Shavar Jeffries. One week before the election Ras Baraka held a press conference to point out an influx of outside money on Mr. Jeffries media blitz, who did not reveal the sources of the money during the campaign. Some of Mr. Jeffries supporters showed up and disrupted the press conference.
During his address outside the arts center, Baraka noted he would be different from former Newark mayors, including current U.S. Senator Cory Booker. He pledged that he would act on his campaign promises.
For example, he pledged to reorganize the police department so that at least 70 percent of the more than 1,000-member force is on the street to reduce violent crimes. Newark suffered the highest number of murders with 111 in 2013, the deadliest since 1990.
And he pledged to tackle the city’s high unemployment and poverty rate.
“We all collectively hate the 111 murders that this city saw last year, but we all have to hate poverty the same way,” Baraka said.