I am a mother, partner, daughter, sister, friend and I am Lajan. I was born and raised in Cambridge and all of my family with the exception of my grandmother, Martha, are from the Cambridge, Dorchester area.
I graduated from Cambridge South Dorchester High School in 1999 with the certificate of merit, the National Honor Society. I was blessed to have Robert Batson as my band teacher and Coach Fleetwood as my gym teacher, where I excelled in music and athletics.
Coach Fleetwood recognized my advanced athletic abilities and allowed me to train with the boy’s gym class. I remember being used as the example, to encourage the guys to push harder.
Music kept me engaged and music always pushed me; it gave me my groove, my culture. Immediately after high school I enrolled in Salisbury University and majored in Business Management.
I surprisingly learned that I was expecting my first child at the age of 18 and I still continued my higher learning education. By the time baby number two and three showed up, it became more difficult and I had to choose working to provide for my three sons over education.
Finally, at the age of 24 my big break came through. I was hired with a company in Cambridge and became part of a team that was ranked the number 1 store with revenue and growth in the USA out of nearly 2,000 stores.
How could any store in Cambridge have the highest ranking with anything in the USA? It was the culture that was created.
We created culture, we had vibe and we had a groove. Working with this successful team gave me the skill no college or university could give me. Due to my evolved work ethic, business savvy and consistency I was given the opportunity to manage and lead a failing business located on the rougher side of West Salisbury.
I was told, “Now go fix it.” That company was on the verge of boarding up the doors and I turned that store around and we became the store with the most growth and lowest losses consistently for the tenure of four years in the district.
At that time, I also the owner of Cambridge Taxi, which I later sold. I stayed in the same line of business for nearly 13 years. It would become basically a repeat in every business I touched from San Diego, California, to Washington, DC and to Easton. I would go to a struggling business, create the culture, team work, consistency and it would thrive.
But in 2018 I decided I needed a break from the business world. My children were getting older and I missed out on a lot of time with them with a work schedule of eight in the morning to nine in the evening at times six days a week. I began seeking a job in law enforcement.
So for two years, I was a correctional officer with the ranking of Corporal. I was the assistant shift supervisor and a drill instructor for the Eastern Shore Criminal Justice Academy at Wor-Wic Community College. I am a graduate of the Eastern Shore Criminal Justice Academy.
As a drill instructor, I prepared new correctional officers for the physical and mental realities within their facilities. I mentored recruited correctional officers from the prison ECI, Wicomico, Worcester, Talbot, Dorchester and Caroline counties. My work led me out into the community to help our most vulnerable group of people.
Working in the criminal justice system, I learned that the vulnerable are more likely to be arrested, go to jail, use drugs, become victims of crime, lacking in resources and uneducated. I knew from my business experience that your business is only as strong as your weakest asset.
Our most vulnerable people live in poor housing. Once we fix our deplorable housing situation, children will do better in school and we will have better offers from business developers than just Dollar General Stores, we will have more home owners which will increase our desperately needed tax base, and our residents will have more pride in their city.
We will have better paying jobs for our workers. We will have better businesses as well as better jobs, who will offer a competitive wage. We will also have better opportunities for our youth with programs and safe and affordable places for them to gather.
Finally, I may not have the experience of current city council members, however, I do offer culture, a business set of eyes, realistic solutions, accessibility, willingness to work toward common goals, progressive innovative ideas, and the idea that I want to work with everyone to make their lives better. We need a realistic goal and an accessible realistic leader for the City Council in Ward 2.
I need your vote on Dec. 1. Vote for culture, community involvement, stronger tax base, better housing, more pay for workers, decreased slum housing, and more opportunities for our youth. Vote for Lajan Cephas and let’s welcome in better together. Thank you.
Lajan Cephas is a candidate for Cambridge City Council, representing Ward 2.
This content was originally published here.