|Address||59 Wilbur Ave. |
Newark, New Jersey 07112, United States
|| February 20, 1936
Dec 08, 2019 04:44pm
|Info||June of 1999 signaled "new beginnings" for Sharpe James when he was selected by Democratic district leaders in the 29th Legislative District to fill the State Senate seat left vacant by the death of the much-loved and respected Senator Dr. Wynona M. Lipman. No stranger to a challenge, Senator James looks forward to leading both the state's largest city and the 29th District, which encompasses parts of Newark and the Township of Hillside. |
This selection honors and recognizes Sharpe James, whose work as Newark's chief executive has turned Newark into America's Renaissance City. That work began on May 13, 1986, when Sharpe James was elected mayor by promising and delivering a "Sharpe change in Newark."
While helping the City of Newark win the Most Livable city, the All-American city, and the Environmental Protection Administrator's Awards (James refers to the three awards as the "triple crown"), Mayor James inspired the creation of the public/private partnerships which are largely responsible for the City's growth and revitalization.
During the James' administration, bond rates and housing stock numbers have risen, as well as city revenue, because of the increased collections for water bills and taxes, and fines for parking and traffic violations. At the same time, many affordable housing complexes have been built and many businesses have relocated or expanded in Newark.
Cultural revitalization has also received a tremendous boost during the James Administration, with Mayor James leading the campaign for a $185 million, 2,500-seat New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC), which opened on October 18, 1997. It immediately became a venue for top performers like Lyle Lovett and Diana Ross, anchoring the development of a new City nightlife, where one can be surrounded by art and culture, shop nearby, eat at a restaurant, and relax in an area hotel. Residential, commercial, and recreational development along Newark's Passaic Riverfront is being spurred by NJPAC.
Senator James has been responsible for laws that have been made the City of Newark an environmental role model. Following the motto, "Think Globally�Act Locally," Newark has adopted laws that have given the City a recycling rate of 57 percent, banned the production and sale of ozone-depleting chemicals and prohibited the use of non-biodegradable plastics in food packaging.
First elected to public office in 1970 as South Ward Councilman, Senator James won reelection on the first ballot in 1974 and 1978, when he ran unopposed. In 1982, he was elected councilman-at-large.
Sharpe James is the 35th mayor of New Jersey's largest city. Mayor James has compiled an impressive number of "firsts." He is the first Newark councilman to be elected mayor, and only the second African-American elected mayor of Newark. James was a professor at Essex County College, where he was the first African American to serve as department chairman and athletic director. He also served as vice-president and then of the president of the Garden State Conference (GSAC).
A native of Jacksonville, Florida, where he was born on February 20, 1936, Sharpe James has lived most of his life in Newark. A graduate from Miller Street School, South Side High School (now Malcolm X Shabazz High School), and Montclair State University, he earned a Master's Degree from Springfield College. He received the 1961 Department of Physiology Award from that University, and has completed advanced studies at Washington State, Columbia, and Rutgers Universities. In 1988, he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Laws degree from Montclair State University, and, in 1991, an Honorary Doctorate from Drew University.
Before joining the faculty at Essex County College, he was a Newark public school teacher for seven years. During that time, he coached city, county and state championship track and cross-country teams. He also served with the U.S. Army in Europe.
Senator James has been heavily involved in presidential campaigns. In 1980, he was co-chairman of the Essex County Committee to Elect Ted Kennedy and served as delegate whip at the Democratic National Convention. In 1988, he chaired the Jesse Jackson for President Campaign, and in 1992, he co-chaired New Jersey's Clinton-Gore Campaign.
His dedication to Newark is demonstrated by the fact that Senator James is currently on the Board of Trustees of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, a vice-president of the New Jersey Conference of Mayors and is past president of the National League of Cities. In 1999, he was inducted into the New Jersey Elected Officials Hall of Fame.
Senator James was named one of the nation's "Ten Best Dressed Men" of 1987, and in 1992, he was voted "The Most Valuable Public Official" in municipal government by City and State Magazine. An avid tennis player, Mayor James is Newark's senior tennis champion and a former New Jersey State Tennis Association champion.
Senator James resides in Newark's South Ward with his wife, Mary, and his three sons: John, Elliot, and Kevin.