ATLANTIC CITY — A Democratic candidate is looking to make history and become the first woman elected mayor in the city’s history.
Pamela Thomas-Fields will formally launch her “Herstorical” campaign at noon Monday inside the Civil Rights Garden at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Pacific Avenue. Thomas-Fields works in the city’s Planning Department and serves as an adjunct professor at the Stockton University School of Business.
“Atlantic City has a wealth of resources, a resilient economy and, most importantly, residents, business proprietors and investors who are looking for someone with bold leadership and a clear vision for the future,” she said in a statement announcing her candidacy. “My administration will be dedicated to nurturing Atlantic City into the world-class resort she was always destined to become.”
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Thomas-Fields is the first candidate to formally announce a challenge to incumbent Mayor Marty Small Sr., who assumed office in October after his predecessor, Frank Gilliam Jr., pleaded guilty to federal wire fraud and resigned.
Small said he has not yet submitted his petition to run in the June primary because he is “focused on the change of government referendum” set for March 31. If the referendum is successful, there will not be a directly elected mayor in Atlantic City.
Candidates running for mayor this year will serve the remaining year left on Gilliam’s original tenure in 2021. An election for a full four-year term beginning in 2022 will be held next year.
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Small and Thomas-Fields were among three nominations made by the Atlantic City Democratic Committee to replace Gilliam. At the time, the committee and Thomas-Fields supported Small. With Thomas-Fields’ entry into the race, it is unclear whether the mayor will be supported by the party. Both Small and Thomas-Fields are members of the city Democratic Committee.
“My forward-thinking ideas, vision for our city and commitment to providing residents with a great community environment is paramount,” she said. “I will be the needed change in government.”
Thomas-Fields previously served as president of Main Street Atlantic City and unsuccessfully ran for Atlantic County freeholder in 2013.
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In 2018, she was recommended by state Sen. Chris Brown, R-Atlantic, for a seat on the Casino Control Commission but was not appointed.
Thomas-Fields has a bachelor’s degree in political science from Stockton University and a master’s degree in administration from Fairleigh Dickinson University. She is seeking to obtain her educational doctorate in organizational leadership from Stockton in 2021, according to the news release announcing her candidacy.
She is a member of the First Ward Civic Association and Atlantic City Women’s March Steering Committee, a founding member of the Stockton University Women’s Leadership Council and serves on the university’s Foundation Board.