By Clyde Hughes | AC JosepH Media
MILLVILLE — Bruce Cooper and his family made Millville their home more than 15 years ago and saw the potential in the city and the impact he believed he could make in moving it forward in a positive way.
After stints on the Millville Board of Education and now on the Millville City Commission, Cooper is asking voters for a second term in office this fall. A career law enforcement officer and U.S. Navy veteran, he wants others to see what he sees in the place he has embraced as his own.
“I got to learn the people in the community,” Cooper told Front Runner New Jersey last week. “We’ve got to see some of the greatness of our city. I said, ‘You know what. I want to help make the city better. I’ve always had aspirations when I was a youngster of being in politics, because of leadership and management.”
A native of Camden County, Cooper said it was his wife, Vineland native Jelitza Ortiz Cooper, who convinced him this was the community to raise their children in. Cooper is a veteran law enforcement officer of the NJ State Human Services Police, assigned to the Vineland and Woodbine Developmental centers.
Making It Better
“I see High Street and I said this is nice but we can make it better,” Cooper said. “The Levoy Theater is nice on the outside but it’s beautiful on the inside. We have the racetrack and lakes all around us with beautiful parks. When you see these things, you realize what great things we have here.”
Cooper said his job is the help Millville live up to its potential and he is running for re-election because there is still plenty of work that needs to be done.
“I feel like the job’s not done yet,” Cooper said. “We’ve done some things and we’re off to a great start, but there’s still a lot of work to do. I want to help the community grow and reach its full potential. I was a personal trainer for 15 years and I used to run my own business and I helped people reach their full potential.”
“When I talk with students, I talk to them about. ‘how can I make you better, not just physically but mentally, emotionally and spiritually?’ I look at everything the same way,” Cooper said.
Cooper and his wife are raising four girls and is a member of Cornerstone Community Church in Millville under Pastor Ralph Graves and Phi Beta Sigma Inc. In 1991 he earned his bachelor’s degree in management science from Kean University.
“I grew up pretty much an athlete, playing basketball and football and running track,” Cooper said. “I was always the quarterback on the football team and the point guard on the basketball team. As the quarterback, you don’t always score the touchdown but I was able to hand it off or throw it to the person who did. Being in those type of positions grew on me.”
“I started studying and doing more research on leadership. That’s why in college I studied management and leadership. I said, ‘You know what? Let me incorporate that into what I already know.’ I learned more in the Navy. My only downfall is that I should have spent 20 years in the Navy than the four I did.
“I think everybody should do some military because I think it would really change our world and everyone’s perspective on how we look at it,” Cooper continued.
Today, Cooper is involved with numerous sports programs when he’s not involved with his own children, and has been active in the Millville Police Athletic League.
Cooper said one of the main messages of his campaign is getting people to look into the future and of all the positive possibilities that lie ahead of them instead of getting bogged down in the past.
“I want them to leave the past in the past and be encouraged about the future,” Cooper said. “In the future, there is so much potential. Now is the time for us to start walking and running and sprinting towards that potential and be encouraged and get on the team. We can all do it together.”
He said his wife and four daughters spend a lot of personal time working as a team.
“I try to spend a lot of family time when I’m out campaigning or doing things for the city,” Cooper said. “I’m also about to receive my certification and life coaching from John Maxwell. I’m excited about that. As a life coach, I want to help people take their lives to the next level. We can do that for the city.”
Cooper said if chosen to serve again another four years, he hopes to bring all of Millville to the next level as well.
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