By Clyde Hughes | AC JosepH Media
PLEASANTVILLE â€“ Mayor Jesse Tweedle Sr. wants everyone else to see the Pleasantville he sees, a city breaming with potential and a community that cares about each other.
Tweedle was first elected as Pleasantville mayor in 2008 after serving five years on city council, three of those years as council president. He uses the term “love” when he talks about his constituents and the city’s virtues.
“I am committed to the residents of Pleasantville of whom I love,” Tweedle, the Air Force veteran, told Front Runner New Jersey recently. “There’s so much potential here. There are many professionals and caring people in the city. My task is to champion all of the good things that we do here in Pleasantville.”
People around the country got to know Pleasantville in a different way in November. Micah Tennant, a 10-year-old Atlantic City boy was shot and later died during a playoff football game at Pleasantville High School against Camden High School.
While the suspects were not from Pleasantville, the city could avoid being connected with the tragedy. Tweedle, though, was clear in comments after the incident that the community mourned for Tennant and would not be defined by the incident.
Pleasantville More than Incident
“Our heart goes out to the victims and their families,” Tweedle told News 12 after the shooting. “This does not define who we are its how we respond to it. I can honestly say that the response has been overwhelming. I’ve had mayors call me, Sen. [Cory] Booker’s office called me, I’ve had bishops call me and pray on the phone, this has been unbelievable.”
Tweedle’s commitment to safety for Pleasantville residents and visitors is a high priority. In October, the Atlantic City Crime Stoppers Foundation honored the mayor and Atlantic County executive Dennis Levinson as Crime Stoppers of the Year.
“Mayor Jesse L Tweedle, Sr. understands that it takes all members of the community to keep our streets clean and safe,” the foundation said about him. “Mayor Tweedle leads by example by seeing to it that Crime Stoppers has the resources it needs to operate. He has graciously allowed his employees to assist as our law enforcement liaison and encouraged our efforts every step of the way. His partnership has been invaluable to our organization.”
Air Force Just First Step
Born in Atlantic City, he settled in Pleasantville after leaving the Air Force in 1971. He earned a business degree from Atlantic Community College and attended Howard University. His experience in the Air Force as a sergeant with cryptographic and top secret clearance helped him start a long career where he molded his managerial experience.
“I spent four years in the Air Force and I took a sense of discipline, commitment and duty,” Tweedle said.
In the professional world, Tweedle built skills in engineering, analytics and proactive preventive maintenance. He developed and implemented strategies in training and development and authored two books on methods and procedures. His biography said those books are still being used as training aids for Verizon.
Business Leader, Community Leader
As mayor, Tweedle serves on the executive board of the New Jersey State League of Municipalities, the New Jersey Urban Mayors Association and the African American Heritage Museum. He has been a member of numerous groups and associations, including the Urban Enterprise Zone, Atlantic County Mayor’s Association, New Jersey Conference of Mayors, United States Conference of Mayors, AtlantiCare Patient/Family Advisory Council and the American Conference on Diversity and the Metropolitan Business & Citizens Association.
About his time with the NJ Urban Mayors Association, made up of city mayors throughout New Jersey, he said: “I get from that group knowing that we have the same common problems and we can feed off each other’s experiences to improve the quality of life in our cities.”
Tweddle said he a lot of pleasure in connecting with the youth in the Pleasantville area, particularly helping them build their reading skills.
“My major focus has always been to get kids reading up to par by the third grade,” Tweedle said. “I brought the Mayor’s Book Club to Pleasantville schools and I read to kids often and I send letters home to the parents encouraging them to read to their kids every night.
“I am in the schools constantly and the students ask why. My answer is ‘How can you be me if you don’t ask me?'” Tweedle added.
The Tweedles Find Joy in Christmas
Tweedle was recently highlighted in the Press of Atlantic City with his wife of more than 50 years, Beryl, over their impressive Christmas holiday decorations that brings to spirit of Christmas to everyone who visit it.
“If you don’t get into the spirit coming over here for Christmas, you might as well go to Greenidge [funeral home] because you are dead,” Tweedle told the newspaper jokingly last year.
The Tweedles, who raised two children together, share the same birthday, ironically being born in the same Atlantic City hospital just hours apart from each other.
Tweedle said in his biography that he wants to improve Pleasantville and make it a place where everyone can be proud, past the perception people get when they hear about the football game shooting last November.
“Under the insightful leadership of Mayor Tweedle, every day, city officials, business owners, community groups and residents are working together to insure a promising and successful future for the city,” the biography said.
Photos courtesy of Mayor Jesse Tweedle Office and Atlantic County Crime Stoppers
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