February 2, 2017, East Orange, NJ: Mayor Lester Taylor has announced his intention not to run for re-election and will step down at the end of his four-year term.
Taylor cited a commitment to his family as the principal reason for his decision:
“Over the past 4 years, there hasn't been a night that my children didn't ask Daddy will you be home before we go to bed; Daddy can you take us ice skating or to the park; or Daddy can you go on my field trip. Too often I let them down as my staff and I worked long hours to ensure we were getting our city back on the right track. After some soul-searching and many conversations with my wife, I decided nothing should come before my family.
Taylor cited the progress the city has made during his tenure:
“We helped deliver a safer city – with the crime rate dropping by an average of 20% below the prior year for the past 3 years. We inherited a financial mess, but have since closed a $10 million deficit and stabilized taxes for the first time in over two decades. We created a $10 million fund balance which can provide much needed tax relief to our citizenry. Private investment in our city has more than quadrupled from $100 million to $400 million – increasing needed tax revenue and allowing us to clean up our city dramatically. We are building in every ward of the city – ensuring that no community is left behind. We’ve revitalized recreational and health services – with a new golf course and a new hospital. We’ve turned a dysfunctional water commission into a fine utility.
Taylor underlined the need for the city to continue to its transformative efforts well into the future:
“While we have made great strides, there is still much to be done and I know we can keep making East Orange an even better place to live. We must still work toward reducing crime, improving our schools, and making East Orange a destination city. I will do my best to work with my successor to ensure the transition is smooth and real progress continues into the future. I have been honored and humbled by the opportunity to represent our city – and look forward to proudly serving as a concerned citizen willing to contribute to finishing the path to “urban excellence.”