DeJon Morris

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DeJon Morris
DeJon Morris.jpg
Candidate for
New Jersey General Assembly, District 31
Elections and appointments
Next generalNovember 3, 2015
Term limitsN/A
Bachelor'sDePaul University
ProfessionPolice detective
DeJon Morris is a 2015 Democratic candidate for District 31 of the New Jersey General Assembly.

Morris was a candidate for an at-large seat on the Jersey City School Board in New Jersey. He lost during the general election on November 5, 2013.


Morris resides in Jersey City, New Jersey. Morris earned a Bachelor's degree from DePaul University before moving to Jersey City to help his father establish the Mt. Olive Baptist Church, where he serves as an associate minister and counselor. He is employed as a detective with the Jersey City Police Department.[1]



See also: New Jersey General Assembly elections, 2015

Elections for the office of New Jersey General Assembly will take place in 2015. A primary election will be held on June 2, 2015, and the general election November 3, 2015. The signature-filing deadline for candidates wishing to run in this election was March 30, 2015.[2]


See also: Jersey City Public Schools elections (2013)


Morris and ten other candidates challenged incumbent Gerald Lyons for one of three at-large seats with three-year terms in the general election on November 5, 2013. Lyons was a member of the "Children First" slate of candidates, which included Lorenzo Richardson and Gina Verdibello for the three-year term seats and Angel Valentin for the one-year term seat. A separate slate of candidates endorsed by Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop campaigned under the name "Candidates for Excellence," which included Micheline Amy, Jessica Daye and Ellen Simon for the three-year term seats and Carol Lester for the one-year term seat.[3]


Jersey City Public Schools, At-large General Election, 3-year term, 2013
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngJessica Daye 21.1% 9,351
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngMicheline Amy 17.7% 7,879
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngEllen Simon 10.6% 4,702
     Nonpartisan Lorenzo Richardson 10.2% 4,511
     Nonpartisan Gerald Lyons Incumbent 8.9% 3,950
     Nonpartisan Gina Verdibello 7.6% 3,383
     Nonpartisan Kevaan G. Walton 6.2% 2,770
     Nonpartisan Denise Davis 4.8% 2,137
     Nonpartisan DeJon Morris 4.3% 1,914
     Nonpartisan Carol L. Gabriel 2.7% 1,214
     Nonpartisan Josephine Paige 2.2% 982
     Nonpartisan Susan Harbace 2.2% 961
     Nonpartisan Telissa E. Dowling 1.4% 608
     Nonpartisan Personal choice 0.1% 44
Total Votes 44,406
Source: Hudson County Clerk, "Official Election Results," November 14, 2013


Morris reported no contributions or expenditures to the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission.[4]


Morris did not receive any official endorsements for his campaign.


Jersey City Public Schools, At-large General Election, 3-year term, 2012
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngMarilyn Roman 20.5% 4,501
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngVidya Gangadin 19.2% 4,220
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngSangeeta Ranade 17.1% 3,762
     Nonpartisan Gerald M. Lyons 13.5% 2,968
     Nonpartisan Frank Lorenzo 11.3% 2,490
     Nonpartisan Amanda Khan 10.8% 2,370
     Nonpartisan DeJon Morris 5.6% 1,233
     Nonpartisan Jayson H. Burg 1.9% 415
     Nonpartisan Write-in votes 0.1% 20
Total Votes 21,979
Source: Hudson County, New Jersey, "2012 School Board Election," accessed October 28, 2013

Campaign themes

Morris's campaign website listed his "ABC Plan" campaign themes for 2013:[5]


Everyone involved in the education of our most valuable resource, our children, should have clearly defined, measurable goals. Students, parents, teachers, staff, school board, and the community should all know specific things that they can do to improve the educational outcomes for our young people.

If the expectations are known, measurements are taken, results assessed, and constructive criticism applied – the process will improve.

The end result will be more graduates who are better equipped to excel as their lives progress.

Budget Transparency

There is perhaps no area where the sheer size of the issue creates more complications. The proposed Jersey City School District budget is about 660 Million dollars this year.

In spite of the fairly continuous complaints from most of the board members about how inadequate this staggering sum is, it’s still a lot of money! And, with the economy being what it is, it’s unlikely that there will be much in the way of budget increases in coming years.

These two facts make it that much more important for the school board to scrutinize details and put accountability measures in place that will insure expenditures are going directly to improving students’ educational outcomes. Every effort must be made to eliminate current wasteful spending and avoid further wasteful spending in the future.

Because of the sheer size of the budget it would be impossible for the vast majority of people to go through, let alone understand, all the detail. That’s why there is a professional financial staff that should be available to answer all public inquires in a timely manner without obstacles of bureaucracy.

The board is responsible for working with the staff in order to set fiscal expectations and analyze outcomes. There also need to be policies in place that insure transparency so that parents and other taxpayers can see how their tax dollars are being utilized.

By requiring accountability the board will promote fiscal discipline and insure that the classroom is the beneficiary of the budget.

Community Collaboration

Perhaps the most important component of the ABC Plan is the following: the members of the community must actively engage in the effort to improve the educational outcomes for our students.

For the maximum success to flow to our young people, everyone has to take an active role in the process, such as parents, religious leaders and leaders in our neighborhoods.

The school district cannot do it alone. But the district should take the lead in reaching out to the community, promoting parental rights and bringing all representatives together.

By stressing ways to develop unity, where possible, provide support and guidance, where necessary, and involve the community – with the emphasis on parents – the district will lead the way in overcoming many of the barriers that currently stand in the way of academic success for many of our students

Note: The above quote is from the candidate's website, which may include some typographical or spelling errors.

What was at stake?

There were four seats on the school board up for election on November 5, 2013. Incumbents Carol Lester and Angel Valentin filed to run against one another for the single at-large seat with an unexpired one-year term, while fellow incumbent Gerald Lyons competed against 11 challengers for three at-large seats with three-year terms. Incumbent Sterling Waterman did not file for re-election. Josephine Paige, Peter A. Basso and Jay Cordero initially announced runs for the three-year term seats, but all three withdrew from the race before November.[6]

Alleged board meeting incivility

During a candidate forum held on October 24, Ellen Simon criticized Lorenzo Richardson for comments he made during a school board meeting in July, 2012 shortly after the hiring of district superintendent Marcia V. Lyles. Richardson had denounced the controversial hiring decision and told the board, "My advice to all of you board members: Whoever has a gun to your head, let them pull the trigger. At least you will die with respect. OK? Cause if I was in that position, I’d tell them to pull the trigger." Simon argued that this was symbolic of the degree of incivility common at Jersey City school board meetings and that Richardson had spoken inappropriately. She added that, "This rhetoric has no place in a board of education. [...]And this kind of incivility is what has torn the board apart." Richardson defended his comments, insisting that he meant the board should ignore pressure from the New Jersey state government to hire Lyles, not that he meant they should commit suicide for their decision.[7]

About the district

See also: Jersey City Public Schools, New Jersey
Jersey City Public Schools is located in Hudson County, New Jersey
Jersey City Public Schools is located in Hudson County, New Jersey. The county seat of Hudson County is Jersey City. According to the 2010 US Census, Hudson County is home to 652,302 residents.[8]


Hudson County underperformed in comparison to the rest of New Jersey in terms of its median rates of average household income and poverty rate but outperformed the state average in higher education achievement in 2011. The median household income in Hudson County was $57,660 compared to $71,180 for the state of New Jersey. The poverty rate in Hudson County was 15.1% compared to 9.4% for the entire state. The US Census also found that 35.3% of Hudson County residents aged 25 years and older attained a Bachelor's degree compared to 35.0% in New Jersey.[8]

Racial Demographics, 2012[8]
Race Hudson County (%) New Jersey (%)
White 66.4 73.8
Black or African American 15.0 14.7
American Indian and Alaska Native 1.2 0.6
Asian 14.8 9.0
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander 0.2 0.1
Two or More Races 2.4 1.9
Hispanic or Latino 42.6 18.5

Party Affiliation, 2013[9]
Party Hudson County Registered Voters  % of Total
Democratic 176,138 50.34
Republican 27,539 7.87
Libertarian 188 0.01
Green 96 0.01
Other 54 0.01
Unaffiliated 145,878 41.76

Note: The United States Census Bureau considers "Hispanic or Latino" to be a place of origin rather than a race. Citizens may report both their race and their place of origin, and as a result, the percentages in each column of the racial demographics table may exceed 100 percent.[10][11]

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