Words cannot express the meaning of this moment. And while; I am saddened to hear that the end of an era and the passing of the torch will happen soon.
It is with mixed emotions that I receive the recent announcement by Mayor Frank Moran of his intended retirement at the end of April.
But above all one emotion stands out: Gratitude! So Thank you, Mayor Moran for all your years of hard work, dedication and unwavering leadership to the City of Camden community and Latino community of New Jersey.
For more than thirty years, Mayor Moran has been more than a mentor to me, he has been family. Tio Moran (Uncle Frank), as I affectionately refer to him, has treated me like a blood relative imparting both knowledge and wisdom as he has with his own family.
As a father figure, he has also provided me with spiritual guidance to strengthen my faith in myself and, more importantly, my faith in God.
Tio Frank was the first to know that I was accepted to college, first to know when I became pregnant with my first child and first to know I would be graduating in three years from college rather than four so that I could get back home to my family and city.
In fact, he held my first-born child, Bella, as he cheered me on from the stands as I proudly marched at my college commencement. And today I want to simply say, “Thank you, Tio Moran, for all you have done”.
Indeed, throughout my adult life, I have been fortunate enough to have the support and guidance of Tio Frank and his lovely wife, Ivette. Both have always been there for me, have at all times made certain that I was safe and self-assured when faced with life’s challenges.
It was Ivette who taught me the value of diamonds and that a woman should always carry herself more than their worth. Indeed, the Moran’s imparted on me the values, traditions, and morals upon which my husband and I have now shared with our own children.
Beyond his personal impact on my life, he also introduced me to public service and civic engagement for which I am most grateful.
As a leader, Francisco “Frank” Moran has shown me that both courage and compromise are the two sides on the coin of change; each requiring the confidence in oneself and others to move an agenda forward.
The political lessons I have learned from Mayor Moran are the cornerstone of my personal political career and have proved invaluable in my capacity as a Councilwoman.
“Politics is tough work…” he’d say “…no one sees all the sacrifices you make; to family, to friends, to yourself, but everyone will always see the mistakes.”
Mayor Moran made sure that our collective voices—the Latino voice, the people’s voice and that of our community—was always in the forefront, and the decisions he made ultimately benefited the entire Camden community.
So, congratulations to Mayor Moran on a job well done! Thank you for the over thirty years of public service. May God always bless and keep you, Ivette and your entire family in his Graces!
As my mentor steps down and we begin to turn the page as a city, we need to be assured of an equitable process that guarantees, at its core, the involvement of all community members in the process of selecting a qualified successor.
The future of this Great City lies before us, and the Camden City Democratic Committee has an opportunity to undo years of mistrust, loss of faith and lack of civic participation by simply doing the right thing at this moment.
Felicia Reyes-Morton is a Camden City Councilwoman representing the 4th Ward.