Alderman James Horning, who ran for District 1, and Alderman-elect Dwendolyn Creecy, who ran for District 4 and replaced Alderman Chris Hamilton, both ran unopposed and are considered winners of their respective elections.
Lauren Magee / THE REVIEW

BY
Senior reporter

Alderman James Horning, who ran for District 1, and Alderman-elect Dwendolyn Creecy, who ran for District 4 and replaced Alderman Chris Hamilton, both ran unopposed and are considered winners of their respective elections. Horning will serve his second term, and Creecy will serve her first.

Considering his decision to run for re-election, Horning said that he had initially announced that he would not run again.

“I initially had some concerns about running for re-election because it would take a lot of time and effort, and at first I said I had no intention of running,” said Horning. “If you have a family, three young children, and a full-time lawyer, that’s a lot, but I’m passionate about it.”

According to Horning, his “privilege” of serving the people of District 1 inspired him to run for a second term. He said he was particularly touched by the help he could offer his constituents, such as helping someone with health problems.

“It was really amazing to me the things I could do to help people,” said Horning. “It might sound cheesy, but a couple of my favorite movies, one of which was a Superman series, and I liked him because he was patriotic and could help people, and he [was] my hero. Before my father was my hero, it was Superman, and in that position, it’s the closest connection I’ve ever had with Superman. “

Several projects he worked on contributed to his decision to run for a second term, according to Horning. This relates to the effort to set up a diversity committee within the local government – realizing that one term would not be enough to complete all of the things he would like to accomplish.

“It got to a point where I felt like there was too much good to be done, and it worked so well from so many different angles,” said Horning. “I think I would have really missed it [being a council member]. ”

James Horning, councilor for District 1, has entered his second term.

One of Horning’s accomplishments that he was proud of in his first term was creating ways to connect with all of his constituents, regardless of how they could communicate. He said some of the forms of communication include an email distribution list, phone calls, the Nextdoor app, his website, and sometimes even letters.

“I don’t always get an answer at the time, but then I hear some people walking [their] Dogs or something, and they’ll say, “Keep putting stuff on Nextdoor, it really helps,” or go out of their way to tell me how much they appreciate it even though they don’t respond, “Horning said.

Another aspect of his first term that Horning is very proud of is the city’s COVID-19 response, which states that the situation is particularly difficult and that they are “navigating uncharted waters”.

“Overall, I think the COVID response is something I’m very proud of,” Horning said. “We’ve spent a lot of time and interaction with federal and state officials and even local partners, but Newark is a very unique place that is home to a lot of college students. And we were very nervous when we went into the fall and saw reports elsewhere of how bad it was getting to drop out of face-to-face classes or sending people home, and we tried to avoid all of that. “

Horning also said he has some plans in mind for his next term that he wants to accomplish, such as developing new businesses and changing codes for developers. Horning said these potential changes could make it easier for developers to approve their plans and make Newark more business-friendly.

“I think with some of these changes we can show that Newark is open and happy that people are investing money in our city to make it better overall,” said Horning. “So, [in terms of] I think we could give them clear parameters to work with and turn them into a process so that they don’t have to spend a lot of money to get to the point where something is rejected. “

Another change Horning would like to consider may be the lifting of the Footloose Ordinance, which bans dancing in certain areas in downtown Newark. He said he wanted to create a better experience for college students and full-time residents.

“I don’t know how much the students are interested, but it’s something people have asked about, ‘Can we reconsider the footloose regulation that bans downtown dancing? ‘And I think the overall city experience would be better for everyone. Said Horning. “This is something we can look at that maybe not too difficult to overcome.”

While Horning already has a tenure, this will be Creecy’s first tenure on the city council. Creecy said she was originally from Philadelphia and had experience in government positions, including serving on a council and as an election judge, while living in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania.

Creecy said she grew up watching her parents pursue careers in the service – her mother was a child advocate for many years, and her father served as a police officer, firefighter, and paramedic. However, Creecy said that all of those experiences did not lead her to run for city council.

“After this [all] In all honesty, I didn’t have a career in politics, ”Creecy said. “What interested me and what drove me in this direction is my past – and also being a teacher, working as a dental assistant, coming from California as a teenage mom and knowing the struggles that I went through and that I did wanted to be a voice for other young women and young men who have problems in their neighborhood and are trying to succeed. “

Creecy moved to Delaware to be closer to her family, but when she moved to Newark, she noticed that her neighborhood seemed “easily forgotten”.

“When I moved to Newark from Becks Woods, I noticed [the] The area I lived in seemed a bit forgotten, to be honest, ”Creecy said. “I got to know my neighbors and things like that and unfortunately my house was flooded, the roof collapsed – and I bought this house. It was the first house I ever bought. I really wanted to run [away], but without Newark City and Madison’s good neighbors, I probably would have just left the house there. “

Creecy also said the encouragement she received to stay in this neighborhood made her stand up again for children, adults and the elderly. She said that in addition to helping the community, it was the right time for her to run for the city council, considering what was happening around the world and in politics at the time.

Dwendolyn Creecy, city councilor elected for District 4, will serve her first term on the city council.

Creecy is also the first black person to serve on the city council since George Wilson in the 1950s, and she will be the first black woman to serve on the city council in all of Newark’s history.

“I feel like I have some very big shoes to fill, especially with the gentleman who was previously on Newark City Council and was an activist in 1950,” Creecy said. “I’m pretty sure he will look down on me to make sure I make the right decisions. It’s an amazing feeling to know that I’ve broken the glass ceiling for women of skin color and indigenous races so I’m very proud of it and can’t wait to bring our voices to Newark because here are a lot of us but we are underrepresented. “

Not only did she bring representation through her gender and race, but she also said she had a lower economic status than the person who would normally occupy the District 4 position.

“Usually I think someone from Old Newark represents my district,” Creecy said. “This will be the first time a lower-middle-class area I live in, near Dickey Park, has been represented by someone who is in pain the same as him.”

Going forward, Creecy said that she has many plans and many problems that she would like to address. Some of these include raising awareness of programs for children to have summer activities and liaising with the Newark Police Department to call when they need to deal with a situation involving the mentally ill and the elderly Helping people in their neighborhood by protecting them.

“I love the elderly – the elderly and children, and I want them to be safe in their homes,” Creecy said. “I came across a situation where a gentleman was abused by his caretaker, basically beaten up and all that money was taken and he was older and mentally ill. I jumped through so many hoops to help him in vain; He ended up walking out with the same person and it breaks my heart. but [there’s] was more than such a situation in my area. “

Since this will be Creecy’s first term, she looks forward to learning how the Newark City Council works and how it can make a difference.

“I look forward to being taught,” said Creecy. “This is a big deal. I will not go into this position without training the position. However, I want to learn how the wheels spin and I want to work for the improvement of Newark. I want to make this a great place, not that it is already, but there are improvements and things that can be done to make it even better in our communities and I look forward to that. I look forward to working with all of the county councils and councilors to make Newark better. “