JERSEY CITY - As expected for weeks, Mayor Jerramiah T. Healy has announced that City Councilman At-large Viola Richardson will run on his reelection slate.
The move reunites former allies-turned-adversaries-turned-allies.
Prior to winning her current seat, Richardson served as the Ward F City Council representative for nearly a decade. After the resignation of At-large City Councilwoman Willie Flood in early 2011, Richardson, who had previously run with Healy, expressed an interest in Flood's seat. Healy, however, appointed attorney Kalimah Ahmad to the seat, believing she had a better chance of keeping the at-large seat in the November 2011 special election.
Insulted, Richardson ran against Ahamd in the special election without Healy's support and emerged as the top vote-getter in the election.
Once taking office, Richardson and then-ally Nidia Lopez, the Ward C City Councilwoman, mounted an unsuccessful effort to replace longtime Healy ally Peter Brennan as Council President. Had this effort been successful, Richardson would have replaced Brennan as the council leader.
For a time Richardson appeared to be moving closer to Healy nemesis, City Councilman Steven Fulop, who is running for mayor against Healy in the upcoming May election. In recent months, however, Richardson has been voting more consistently with the Healy administration, leading to speculation that she would run for reelection on the mayor's ticket.
"Viola Richardson and I share the same motivations in all that we do - namely, always doing what's best for Jersey City's families and our community," Healy said Tuesday in a prepared statement. "Councilwoman Richardson is a strong, independent voice, and I'm proud of all the work we've accomplished together to move our city forward."
"Just like Mayor Healy, I'm driven to always do what's best for the residents of Jersey City and those who work here," said Richardson. "And together, we'll continue to work hard to make Jersey City a better place for all."
Richardson joins Healy's previously announced council candidates: Council President Peter Brennan (at-large); Democratic Committeeman Omar Perez (at-large); former Jersey City Schools Superintendent Dr. Charles Epps (Ward A); and community activists Jerry Meyers (Ward B), Janet Chevres (Ward C), and Dan Levin (Ward E).
Healy has yet to announce a candidate for ward D.
Ironically, two of Richardson's former allies are now on Fulop's slate.
At-large City Councilman Rolando Lavarro Jr., who ran in the 2011 special election bracketed with Richardson is running for a full-term with Fulop.
Shortly after Healy announced that Richardson had joined his slate Fulop announced that Lopez will be his Ward C candidate. - E. Assata Wright