Gwendolyn A. Faison (February 14, 1925 – July 10, 2021) was an American Democratic politician. Faison held the office of Mayor of Camden, New Jersey from 2000 to 2010. She was the city's first female mayor, as well as the first African-American woman to serve as president of the Camden City Council.
|Mayor of Camden|
December 22, 2000 – January 5, 2010
|Preceded by||Milton Milan|
|Succeeded by||Dana Redd|
|Born||February 14, 1925|
Clinton, North Carolina, U.S.
|Died||July 10, 2021 (aged 96)|
Camden, New Jersey, U.S.
She was first appointed when Milton Milan was convicted of corruption and forced to leave office in 2000. She had served as City Council President since 1997. She won re-election in 2001 and 2005. Under the State of New Jersey's recovery act for Camden, which expired in 2007, the Mayor's office had limited formal responsibilities for the first seven years of her tenure. She left office in January 2010 after electing not to seek a third term.
Early life and careerEdit
She attended Shaw University, Temple University and Rutgers University. She was previously a member of the Camden County Board of Chosen Freeholders (filling a vacancy on the Board in 1985), Camden County Board on Aging, and Legislative Committee of the New Jersey Democratic Women. Professionally, Faison was a retired data processing administrator.
Camden City councilEdit
Faison was first elected to the Camden City Council in 1983. She lost re-election for her seat in the Second Ward to Councilman Ali Sloan El in 1995. However, Faison was returned to city council in the 1997 city election and became city council president. She was initially seen as an ally of Camden Mayor Milton Milan, and his policies. However, their relationship rapidly deteriorated when Milan was indicted for corruption in March 2000.
Mayor of CamdenEdit
Faison was sworn into office as Mayor of Camden in December 22, 2000, as Camden's first female mayor. Faison became acting mayor one day after the conviction of her predecessor, former Mayor Milton Milan, who was found guilty of 14 of 19 charges of political corruption on December 21, 2000.
She held office for the remainder of Milan's unexpired term, which ended in June 2001.
In November 2006, some Hispanic activists began a drive to recall Faison, arguing that the mayor has ignored the city's Latino neighborhoods and allowed racial discrimination in the city's fire department. She was a member of the Mayors Against Illegal Guns Coalition, a bi-partisan group with a stated goal of "making the public safer by getting illegal guns off the streets."
In February 2009, Faison decided that she would not seek election to a third, four-year term as mayor. She endorsed New Jersey state Sen. Dana Redd, who won the 2009 mayoral election to succeed her.
- Burney, Melanie (2000-12-24). "New Camden Mayor Can Call On A Lifetime Of Getting Jobs Done Gwendolyn Faison Inherits A Government Embroiled In Turmoil. Pending Legislation Would Strip All Power From The Mayor's Office". Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved 2012-03-05.
- Ott, Dwight (2001-07-01). "Feisty Faison battles for Camden home rule". Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved 2012-03-05.
- "Camden Mayor Gwendolyn Faison won't seek third term". The Star-Ledger. 2009-02-24. Retrieved 2012-03-05.
- "Retired Teacher Appointed To Council C. Louise Dobbs Will Finish The Term Of Acting Mayor Gwendolyn Faison. She Also Plans To Run In May". Philadelphia Inquirer. 2001-01-11. Retrieved 2012-03-05.
- Ott, Dwight (2001-05-10). "Faison asks the state to leave Camden alone The state declined. As the newly elected mayor moved to assert her independence, officials said the takeover could get stronger". Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved 2012-03-05.
- Ott, Dwight (2005-06-16). "'Strange bedfellows' carry the day Gwendolyn Faison owes her runoff reelection victory to the support of erstwhile opponents". Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved 2012-03-05.
- "Faison is target of recall petition Camden's mayor is accused of ignoring the needs of Latinos, who are to start their drive today". philly-archives. 2006-11-15. Retrieved 2015-12-12.
- "Mayors Against Illegal Guns: Coalition Members". Archived from the original on 2007-03-05.
- "Former Camden Mayor Gwendolyn Faison, the first woman to hold that office, dies at 96". The Philadelphia Inquirer. 2021-07-10. Retrieved 2021-07-10.