Councilwoman Pruitt Will Not Seek Re-Election

WILL NOT RUN – Township Councilwoman Crystal Pruitt announced at the February 28 Council meeting that she will not seek a second full term on the governing body.

Citing the travel demands of her job as the reason behind her decision, Township Councilwoman Crystal Pruitt announced February 28 that she would not run for re-election this November.

Pruitt, a Democrat holding an At-Large seat, was appointed to the Council in January 2019 to fill the one-year unexpired seat of Shanel Robinson, who had recently been elected to the then-Board of Chosen Freeholders.

Pruitt won the seat outright in 2019, and is in the final year of her first term.

Over her years on the Council, she has appeared in several political “power lists” compiled by statewide publications.

Pruitt’s focus while on the Council has been public safety, and she has spoken often from the dais about issues of concern to the Black community.

At the Council meeting, Pruitt said her job with Atlantic Shores Offshore Wind often takes her out of town and out of the state. As a result, she has had to miss Council meetings.

“For me, one of the most important things about this job is showing up, and because I’m traveling so often for my job, I made a really difficult decision that I think in the end is the responsible one, and that is not to run for re-election.,” Pruitt said, her voice filled with emotion.

“I will finish out this year, but it’s been a tremendous honor to serve the citizens of Franklin Township,” she said as she unsuccessfully tried to hold back tears. “Franklin Township raised me and for at least five years I was able to give something back. I hope this isn’t the last opportunity I’ll have to be of service, and I’m not falling off the face of the Earth.”

“I just think that I’m the type of person that puts their whole self in everything I do, and the moment I cannot, I need to take a step back and provide space and opportunities for someone else to step up,” Pruitt said.

“It’s been an honor and I wouldn’t be crying about it if it wasn’t a difficult decision,” she said. “Thank you so much for allowing me to be your Councilwoman for five years, and I hope to be able to serve you again in the future.”

Council members praised Pruitt for her work and for the decision she made.

“We appreciate you giving of your time and your talent, and all of the contributions you’ve made to Franklin Township,” said Councilwoman Kimberly Francois (D-At Large). “You still have the rest of the year to serve, so we’re going to work you to death until you leave.”

“We love you, we care about you, and we appreciate that you made that decision, it was definitely a hard decision,” she said.

“Just because you’re not here in the Council, doesn’t mean you’re going to go away,” Francois said. “You’ll still be in Franklin, and I know you’re still going to serve.”

Councilman James Vassanella (D-Ward 5) said, “It takes a lot of courage to make hard decisions.”

“Everyone up here puts in a heck of a lot more hours than we even realize … but that’s what we’re here for. Very courageous decision,” he said.

Councilwoman Shepa Uddin (D-Ward 2) said she was “definitely” going to miss Pruitt.

“I’m going to continue to bug her,” she said. “She’s full of knowledge.”

“I love communicating with her and just brainstorming,” Uddin said. “I will miss having her presence to do that. But we’ll keep doing it this year.”

Councilman Carl Wright (D-Ward 4) said he was happy for Pruitt.

“We might be sad, but we’re happy for you,” he said. “We’re sorry you’re leaving, but we’re happy you are leaving because you’re a happy camper, and that’s the main thing, being a happy camper.”

Deputy mayor Ram Anbarasan said he got to know Pruitt as they walked the town, campaigning together in 2019.

“It took a lot of conviction to make the decision, which shows the mettle of the person she is,” he said. “A person of integrity to public service. I really appreciate and commend you on your decision.”

“I love her to death, and I wish her all the best,” he said.

Township Democrats will meet this month to pick their slate for the Mayoral and Council At-Large seats up for grabs in the November election.

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