March 18th Forum Highlights Issues Important to the City


The mayoral candidates gathered on March 18th in Trenton and spoke to a packed auditorium of residents in their first forum since the petitions have been filed with the clerk’s office.

With the exception of Councilwoman Kathy McBride, who was attending a city council meeting, candidates Jim Golden, Eric Jackson, Oliver “Bucky” Leggett, Paul Perez, and Walker Worthy were present and took turns answering questions posed by the forum organizers as well as the city residents.

Discussion topics included prospective plans for reducing the city’s crime rate, creating a safer environment for children, and proposed changes to the Trenton public schools.

“We must step up, speak up, and play a better role in our education process,” said Golden, former city police director for the Philadelphia Police Department of the reformation of education in Trenton. “Less than 50% of our children are graduating high school,” he said and added he hopes to bring up that rate to 75% within the next four years.

One question was how the candidates, if elected, would develop an administration that is sufficiently qualified and can be trusted to take on the issues.

Worthy reassured the audience that he would seek to hire only the best and the brightest while also guaranteeing that, “cronyism and nepotism will not be a part of the worthy administration.”

After the current allegations made by Tony Mack, Jackson sought to reinstate the trust of Trenton resident’s in their city officials. “I commit to you this, there won’t be any type of scenarios where I won’t be at the highest level of integrity,” said Jackson. “I am committed to bring, not only the best and the brightest, but those who are committed to restore trust and competency to city hall.”

When talk turned to creating safer streets, curbing activity in Trenton made its way to the platform.

Candidate Paul Perez had a simple but effective solution: “Give them a place to go.” The idea of giving young children quality, safe after school programs will keep them off children off the streets and can supplement the education they are getting in the classroom.

Answering to the best of their abilities, the candidates addressed various issues facing Trenton’s rapidly expanding population. It isn’t surprising that with all the negative attention directed at the office of mayor, one of the last questions of the night would be, ‘how to redeem Trenton’s reputation as the progressive state capital that it once was?’

With a very hands on approach Leggett replied, “I intend to move quickly within the first 100 days of my election in our city. We have to do things that make our city worthy of the investment that people want to give.” Jackson expressed a need for a change of perception, Perez promoted honesty, Worthy highlighted history, and Golden insisted on a crime decrease of 40% as a priority to get Trenton back to the great capital it used to be.

With Election Day around the corner, May 13th, it is ideal for prospective voters to attend future forums with questions or issues they wish to hear the candidates address.

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