Everyone has a hero, icon or personal inspiration whom they look up to. These people can serve as the guiding light and help shape smart decisions. Mayor Vauss, whose leadership role in Irvington, New Jersey, has helped turn the town around, certainly has heroes. These are people who helped steer Mayor Vauss personally and politically and he recently sat down – and walked around Irvington’s City Hall in Essex County – with Insider NJ. We encourage readers to learn more about his icons and see the significance of having such individuals in one’s life.
According to the article, former councilman and freeholder D. Bilal Beasley, former freeholder Lebby Jones and former freeholder Sandy Jones all serve as inspiration in some form or another. According to a 2014 NJ.com article, D. Bilal Beasley served four terms on the freeholder board and was a councilman in Irvington for a combined 26 years. Immediately after his passing, New Jersey State Senate President Stephen Sweeney described Beasley as “a true gentleman and prominent civic leader who fought tirelessly for people in numerous capacities.” In his interview with Insider NJ, Mayor Vauss recalled Beasley sharing a bit of advice: “He said to me, ‘Tony, in this business, you help as many people as you possibly can.’”
Freeholder Lebby Jones, who passed in January 2019, was an educator, councilwoman and community cornerstone. According to a Patch.com article that announced her death, Jones was lauded by Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo Jr. for helping “lay the groundwork for the current revival in Irvington.” Mayor Vauss would certainly agree with that latter statement, as Irvington has seen a violent crime rate cut of 80 percent and added $4 million in revenue to the budget.
Former Irvington councilwoman Sandy Jones, who passed away this past spring, was another local figure whom Mayor Vauss cited as leaders who have helped steer his political career. Jones was another longtime councilwoman whose additional services included working as a counselor and family service worker. DiVincenzo told NewJerseyGlobe.com that she “worked tirelessly as a public servant to improve her community and we valued her partnership as a County employee and President of the Friends of Irvington Park.”
At the conclusion of his interview with Insider NJ, Mayor Vauss was quick to point out the new statue that stood out front of City Hall in Irvington. It was, and appropriately so, of late Freeholder Beasley. As evidenced by the good deeds that his political heroes accomplished in their lives, it’s safe to say that Mayor Vauss is working hard to fill those big shoes, too.