The Essex County Democratic Committee today is expected to select veteran longshoremen's leader Gerald Owens to fill a vacancy on the freeholder board created by the ascent to Congress of Donald Payne, Jr.
A general organizer with the International Longshoreman’s Association (ILA), Owens joined the ILA Local 1233 in 1958, while working as a longshoreman in Port Newark and Port Elizabeth, New Jersey.
“He will fill the vacancy,” Essex County Democratic Chairman Phil Thigpen said of his longtime friend, a resident of South Orange.
According to Essex County Clerk Chris Durkin, there will be an election next year for the unexpired term, and then there will be a 2014 election for the full, three-year term.
Thigpen has received over 30 resumes of people expressing interest in the seat. Sources say Owens is expected to only hold the seat on a temporary basis. LIUNA labor leader Eddie Osborne remains the establishment favorite to eventually take possession of the seat for a full, three-year term.
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"During my lifetime I have dedicated myself to this struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die."- Nelson Mandela
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