EDITOR’S NOTE: This story was produced as part of the Center for Cooperative Media at Montclair State University’s South Jersey Information Equity Project fellowship and supported with funding from the Independence Public Media Foundation.
BY SADE OSUJI | AC JosepH Media
WILLINGBORO — Willingboro Township’s ballot trio — Mayor Kaya McIntosh, Deputy Mayor Samantha Whitfield, and Councilwoman Dr. Tiffani Worthy — is running for re-election for township council this primary election.
The Democratic trailblazers have managed to make a name for themselves as the three women implementing strategic plans to transform the social and economic decline of Willingboro Township over the years.
During their first run of campaigning in April of 2019, the three were welcomed with a lawsuit from incumbent Mayor, Martin Nock, following the submission of their joint petition of 136 signatures. Nock challenged the validity of their petitions and wanted them removed from the ballot.
“The lawsuit was pretty shocking to me because the mayor at the time told me previously that he was keeping the seat warm for me,” said Whitfield. Judge Ronald Bookbinder ruled in favor of Whitfield, McIntosh and Worthy, keeping them on the ballot.
“That was a $10,000 challenge because we had to pay our lawyer,” McIntosh added.
With equally extensive and impressive resumes, the trio has remained faithful to serving the community through an increase in community engagement, bridging the gap between departments and residents, and developing the Willingboro Connect app.
The road to council started off with concerned citizens wanting to help Willingboro thrive into a place for residents to truly enjoy.
“We actually got to know each other from going to council meetings,” said Worthy, an educator who runs the nonprofit All Things Are Possible. “We just kept running into each other at business mixers that were related to Willingboro and consistently at township council meetings. We began to just think through different solutions for the township together and present them to the body at the time.”
They reiterated that the driving force of running for council wasn’t because of the money but valuing the community and representing the residents as such.
“It’s a stipend. You have to work. It’s not enough to live on.” McIntosh said. “I could work a minimum wage job and make more than what I make as an elected official.”
They each have full-time jobs. Worthy founded Worthy Solutions, a platform created to provide business slot online to organizations, and ATAP Foundation, an organization created in response to a critical need to develop leaders amongst the youth. McIntosh is a cosmetic chemist, and Whitfield is the executive director of the Organization for Aerospace Professionals.
“We didn’t want to run, but there weren’t any working sessions or town halls to work through pressing issues. And, there was no talk of developing a strategic plan,” Worthy said.
With many people encouraging them to run, they did, and they won in 2019. Now the ladies are looking to win again and keep moving the ball forward.
“We’re looking forward to ‘Expanding the Possibilities’ where we work with our school district and water authority,” McIntosh said. “We want to create a unified community. We’re fortifying infrastructure and investing in our foundations. Most importantly, we want to enhance the experiences of our residents.”
Whitfield, McIntosh, and Worthy believe they have cultivated the necessary skills and tools to elevate the township council.
“Samantha received her master’s degree in city planning with a concentration in community and economic development,” Worthy said. “Kaya had been on the planning board for the municipality for several years, and I helped write strategic plans for multi-billion and public companies. So our skills together work well for the community and in moving us forward.”
During their time on the township council, the three said they are proud of their strides for a better Willingboro.
“I’m proud of us navigating through the pandemic,” Whitfield said. “Dr. Worthy being who she is and her background and training as a combat veteran, was very well positioned to navigate us through that.”
Worthy added: “I think now that we have stabilized the taxes, we’ve got a plan for how we’re going to improve the infrastructure. We’ve got performance evaluations in place in the township. Some of the basics are done. Now we can look at enhancing experiences slot gacor.”.
This time around, they are encouraging residents to vote, even if it isn’t for them, because they believe in the power of voting to promote change.
“Create the town and environment that we want to live in,” Whitfield said. “You know, free of discrimination, free of fear, and legislate those things so that it’s equal and fair and everyone feels comfortable in the community.
“As much as I want the community to vote Whitfield, McIntosh Worthy either on their mail-in ballot or early voting, June 2-4, or in person on June 6th, I just want everyone to vote. Register and vote all the time.”
On Saturday (June 3) at the Willingboro Amphitheatre, in front of the Willingboro Public Library, Whitfield, McIntosh Worthy will be hosting a Pre-Vote Rally from noon-4 p.m. Residents will be given the opportunity to talk with the women and engage with one another.
Mail in Ballot and Early Voting Deadline – June 2nd – June 4th.
In-Person Voting Day – June 6
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