Sunday, August 2, 2009

The Passing of Rick Taylor

Rick Taylor was a unique figure in the history of Plainfield. As Lois and I became more involved in the 1990's in the political life of Plainfield, we saw Rick as larger than life, a media star who was not content to see Plainfield as a small, out of the way place. We came to know him first through the Courier-News, the Star-Ledger and even the network tv news.

In some ways he put Plainfield on the map with his amazing ability to use the news media to promote his interests. The details of local government he left to others but he worked his way onto a bigger stage with his connections to Jesse Jackson and other African American leaders. To his credit many residents and people who worked for him during his time as Mayor of Plainfield were helped to see Plainfield in a broader context.

Lois was involved in one of his mayoral campaigns (she was into local politics more than I was in those days) and I also knew Rick as a fellow not for profit executive director from his work at Grant Avenue Community Center. I always liked that after his government service ended he stayed connected to city government and attended Council meetings. I will miss his blunt manner and sometimes poetic way of speaking. I liked how he carried himself - like he knew he had to be reckoned with and you'd better know it too. I didn't agree with everything he did as an elected official but when you wanted some action or decision to happen in Plainfield, you wanted Rick Taylor on your side more than anyone else in town.

My condolences to Mayor Ricks family and close friends.

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