|John Sharpe James|
|Member of the Municipal Council of Newark
from the South Ward
July 1, 2014
|Ras J. Baraka|
|Council Member at Large
Newark Municipal Council
November 8, 2013 - July 1, 2014
|Donald M. Payne, Jr.|
July 19, 1968 |
Newark, New Jersey
|Residence||Newark, New Jersey|
|Service/branch||United States Army|
|Years of service||23.5|
War in Afghanistan
James is the eldest son of former Newark Mayor Sharpe James and retired Newark teacher Mary L. James. He was raised in Weequahic in South Ward, where he stills resides. James attended Saint Benedict's Preparatory School, Morehouse College, and Rutgers School of Law-Newark, where he received a Juris Doctorate in Law.
In December 1985, he was shot while being mugged for his Bomber jacket and has a .22 slug in his right leg. He joined the United States Army Reserves during his first semester at college as an enlisted soldier. He went on to join R.O.T.C his junior year and was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant Infantry officer by the New Jersey Army National Guard in 1991. James served six months active duty for Desert Storm in 1990 and one year active duty for Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan from 2007-08. James received numerous awards for his deployment: Meritorious Service Medal, Purple Heart, Army Achievement Medal, Combat Infantryman Badge and other commendations. He retired from the U.S. Army as a Major in October 2009 after 23.5 years of service.
Donald Payne, Jr. resigned as council member on November 15, 2012, when he was sworn in as a U.S. Representative. James held the position that as the 5th-largest vote-getter in the previous election in which the incumbents were returned he should be appointed to the office. With the eight council members split (4 yeas, 2 nays, and 2 abstain) over the choice of a successor, Mayor of Newark Cory A. Booker cast the deciding vote and on November 20, 2012, Shanique Davis Speight was sworn into office to fill the vacant seat. At the council meeting residents opposed to Booker's vote took vocal issue with his decision. The matter was brought to court and in December 2012, Judge Dennis Carey III ruled that Booker was not entitled to cast a vote to fill the council vacancy since no tie existed and that Speight could not fill the seat, reinstating the inconclusive vote on the council that would remain until Payne's seat was filled based on the results of a special election to be held in November 2013.
On November 5, 2013, James was elected at a special municipal election to serve out the remainder of Payne's term, which ended in June 2014. He was sworn in November 8.
James was unsuccessful in two earlier runs for a seat on the nine-member council but finally prevailed in Newark's special election last week to fill a vacancy left when former Council President Donald Payne Jr. won his father's seat in Congress.