EAST ORANGE – Chris James assumed the oath of office this afternoon as a councilman representing the 1st Ward of East Orange.
“Chris James is respected in Trenton,” Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-3) told an appreciative crowd in the Cicely L. Tyson Community School of Performing and Fine Arts.
Currently the deputy executive director of the New Jersey Assembly Democratic Office, James was chief-of-staff to Speaker Sheila Oliver (D-34).
He personally thanked Oliver as his mentor while the departing speaker looked on from the front row of the packed auditorium.
“Thank you for just being here,” James told the speaker.
James also thanked three political mentors no longer alive: his mother, Maxine James; U.S. Rep. Donald Payne, Sr. (D-10); and Essex County Democratic Committee Chairman Phil Thigpen.
The younger Payne, now serving as the Congressman, recognized James from the latter’s days as a hardworking ally of his father’s.
James ran successfully on a slate with Mayor Lester Taylor, who today also assumed the oath of office.