Crystal Feliciano is a native Trentonian who was born at St. Francis Hospital in 1970. She is a mother, educator, activist, a correspondent for Peterson’s Breaking News and a part-time employee at Trenton Water Works. Despite her many hats, Feliciano who has a Master's degree in Education, is looking to add one more title to her long list of accomplishments by running for an At-Large City Council position. The Trenton Journal recently sat down with Feliciano to discuss her candidacy, her hopes for Trenton, and why she believes she is qualified to represent the Capital City.
What was the pivotal moment when you decided to run for council at-large?
At a certain point in 2020, I was looking around at the city and the decay. I was looking at everything that was happening and looking at how things weren't being done to anyone's liking. I felt as though we were stuck in a box, the administration and council were combating one another almost constantly. I started looking at what I felt I could bring to the table as a council woman. I can't say that it is one person fault over the other. What I am saying is the fact that they can't play nice in the sandbox has left us held hostage for a long period of time. It was then that I decided to throw my hat into the ring. Plus, I'm always speaking life into my students. I'm encouraging them and empowering them to believe and to be the next leaders of tomorrow. I feel like I had to be in a position to sit in a seat to support some good changes to [be able to] give them something to be hopeful for.
Did you have to get the blessing from your family before you decided to officially run for office?
I talked to my daughter and she was like, "Are you sure you want to do this? You already do so much," and I was like, "Yes, I am sure, but how do you feel about it?" Thank goodness I already raised her, so she's doing her thing. It's not like she's a young a child. Even though I'm a single mom I've been able to raise her to where she is on a path to greatness, but I still wanted to hear her say yes, and she did say yes. I spoke to my mom about it and she's so funny. She was like [if you run] people will be all in your business. You better make sure you are sure.
What skills do you believe someone who sits on council should have?
I think that people that sit on council should have good communication skills and good leadership skills. People that come into council have to be ready, willing, and able to put self aside and look to serve all of the people who they would sit in front of and have to answer to. They should be able to show poise and a sense of collectiveness. There is a lot to learn. Everyone who comes on council for the most part will know what we know from the areas that we were taught. I know accounting. I know auditing. I know education. Hypothetically speaking, I may not know the Faulkner Act. I may not know the processes of how certain things run in council, but it doesn't mean that I can't be open to learning.
How important is this year’s election? What's at stake?
Everything—our lives. When you look at it, we had things voted down [including] the chemicals in the drinking water to programs that had the children be able to play outside. I'm not saying this to bash anyone. This year’s election is important because we have a chance to make it right. We have a chance to get people in the seat that will prayerfully move the city in the direction it needs to go. We need revitalization, we need jobs, we need help, we need resources for people, and we need people in positions who are willing to make that happen.
What is your dream vision of Trenton?
For me, an ideal Trenton would be everybody just working together to make things better one step at a time. It would be working with our state legislators and working with the county. Having everybody come together to say, “We want to move Trenton forward in the right direction.” We're going to collectively make that happen. I believe it can happen.
What is your campaign platform? What are some of your major concerns regarding the city?
[My] platform is based around the word R.A.C.E., revitalization, accountability, collaboration, and equity for all. I do want to get rid of the blight in these abandoned homes, because they pose hazards to the people. I think it is not a heavy lift, because if it's city owned property, that all comes from the council. The mayor put a list together, here's the houses we need to knock down, and then the council says yes or no, if it is a hazard, and it meets the criteria, just tear it down.
Some people may feel that you have an unfair advantage in this race since you have a major platform at Peterson's Breaking news. Will you remain a correspondent if elected to office?
If you check my track record and how I've been moving, I've been going live and talking for a long time. We could go years back [to] when I first came on Facebook and see that has always been who I am. I'm grateful for the opportunity of working with Thomas Peterson. I love Peterson like he's my little brother. I can't help what people feel. I can't worry about what people feel in that regard. I'm not gonna stop even when elected to office. I'll be the media corresponding council woman moving around. I'm the same me that I've been yesterday and the day before that, that's who they get. That's what it is.
Last but not least, on November 8th, why should people vote for Crystal Feliciano-number 8?
Biblically, the number eight signifies new beginnings. Here in the city of Trenton, I want to be a part of the new beginning. I believe that I'm a person that's going to push the initiative forward. I'm not somebody that's going to sit there and just go along and get along. I'm here for the people all day, every day. I have no personal agenda in my pocket of what I'm looking to do. My heart is where it is. My heart is with the people. I'm willing to pull up to get even more into the trenches with the people to help get [done] what needs to be done. If they want somebody authentic, if they want somebody that’s straight up with them, if they want somebody that's going to do the work, [if] they want someone who will tactfully speak up for the residents and business owners for the good of the city, and wants someone who believes in the accountability on all levels, then I'm the person for Trenton. I know that and they know that. Let's get some new beginnings in the city of Trenton.
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