A candidate for Trenton city council today slammed her opponent in next weeks’ South Ward runoff for disparaging her family and hurling hurtful, personal attacks about her parentage in a bid to convince a judge to order a last-minute name change on the ballot.
In court papers, Jenna Figueroa Kettenburg defended her use of her father’s name on the ballot after Damian Malave filed a last minute court alleging that she was trying to appeal to Hispanic voters which make up 67% of the South Ward. Malave wants to see his opponent’ birth certificate.
“Edwin Figueroa is the only father I have ever known. I have always been told that he is my biological father, and, more importantly, even if he were to have technically been my stepfather, or just my mother’s partner of more than 35 years, the fact is that he is the only father I ever known,” she said. “From my babyhood, through my elementary school, middle school, and high school years, he was the father who was always there, until I left home for college, and whenever I visited home throughout my early adulthood years until he sadly passed away when I was 38 years old.”
The council candidate said that when Edwin Figueroa died in 2018, “no distinction was made in the listing of his children as to children, step-children, step-siblings, half-siblings.
“Much as in many other loving blended families throughout the State of New Jersey in recent generations, we all viewed one another as family,” Figueroa Kettenburg said. “I am hurt, saddened, and disgusted by Mr. Malave’s insulting and ungentlemanly attacks on me and my parents. Mr. Malave should be ashamed of dragging my parents into his desperate attacks on me.”
Figueroa Kettenburg provided multiple documents to Mercer County Assignment Judge Robert Lougy to show that she has used the name Figueroa professionally, even though she is registered to vote as Jenna L. Kettenburg.
“My love for the only father I have ever considered to be my father is why I have proudly used the name Jenna Figueroa Kettenburg,” she said.
She maintains that Malave has missed the boat anyway, saying that Malave missed the deadline to challenge her nominating petitions in September.