CAMDEN — Speaking from City Hall Wednesday, Dana Redd announced that she will not be seeking a third term as mayor of Camden, New Jersey. City Council President Francisco “Frank” Moran will seek the Democratic nomination in her place, and the move marks the end of the tenure of a mayor who oversaw the city’s shift from a state takeover of its finances back to local control in 2010.
Flanked by the full City Council, Redd thanked Camden’s congressman Donald Norcross, sponsor of many of the laws that have led to the city’s rapid riverfront development since Redd took office. Nor cross was the sponsor of the Economic Opportunity Act (EOA), which laid the groundwork for the tax incentives that have driven more companies to the city.
“Camden has been blessed with such a wonderful congressional delegation that I don’t think we have ever seen so much federal funding and assistance come to Camden as we have over the past seven years,” Redd said.
The increase in tax subsidies for employers who choose to relocate to or open facilities in Camden was a signature shift in strategy under Redd. The city saw a proliferation of charter and so-called “renaissance” public-private hybrids under Redd, and the dissolution of the municipal police force in favor of patrols by the Camden County Police Department.
The state Economic Development Authority has given roughly $1.5 billion in tax abatements to companies like nuclear power company Holtech and Cooper University Healthcare since the redevelopment plans began.
Critics have pointed to Redd’s close ties to the South Jersey Democratic political machine headed by insurance executive and one-time Camden County Democratic Chairman George Norcross, who serves as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Cooper Health System.
With Camden County’s highly organized Democratic organization unlikely to produce a viable challenger Moran is all but assured the nomination in the heavily Democratic city, which has not elected a Republican mayor in more than 70 years.
“Mayor Dana Redd has helped lead a rebirth in the city of Camden. Her transparent and accountable government and her partnership with the state, have improved public safety, rejuvenated the local economy and placed Camden on a path to restoring the city to its rightful place as one of New Jersey’s most productive and important municipalities,” said Senate President Steve Sweeney, whose home district encompasses Camden in a statement.
“Dana and Frank have worked together with me as the city we all love and call home has experienced a historical comeback. Frank Moran has dedicated his life to providing Camden City residents with safe communities, quality public schools, and great job opportunities,” said Congressman Norcross in a statement of his own.