JERSEY CITY, NJ — Mayoral candidate Steven Fulop turned up the heat on his opponent last Jan. 7 as he introduced his team slate to the community in preparation for the coming elections on May 14.
More than 300 enthusiastic volunteers and supporters crowded into a formerly vacant building on John F. Kennedy Boulevard to mark the opening of Team Fulop’s new campaign headquarters, with teammate Councilman-At-Large Rolando Lavarro and the Team Fulop slate.
The building at 2175 Kennedy Boulevard, corner of Morton Place, will serve as campaign central for the next four months for Fulop, Lavarro, and their running mates, who were introduced for the first time as a team.
“If you give me the opportunity and if you give this team the opportunity to show you that things will be different, we will achieve more than you think we will achieve. I will promise you that,” Fulop said. “There is no reason why Jersey City can’t be everything we imagined that it has the capability to be. We can have the best schools, the safest, cleanest streets. It is possible and this team is focused on it.”
Prior to leasing the space, Fulop said the building sat vacant and decaying for years. Volunteers removed massive amounts of garbage and spruced up the interior space to accommodate dozens of campaign volunteers who will be working around the clock until the May 14 election.
“We worked hard to get this building in shape because it symbolizes what this campaign is about,” Fulop said. “It’s about going into neighborhoods, going block by block, person by person and getting involved. And that’s why we are all here today.”
From his Council slate, Fulop first introduced Councilman Lavarro, who has been in office for more than a year following his historic win as the first Asian American councilperson elected in Jersey City. Fulop previously announced Lavarro as part of his team slate and is running for his first full 4-year term.
In his remarks, Councilman Lavarro provided a stark contrast between the current and a Fulop administration.
“The people of Jersey City will have a clear choice: maintain the status quo or move forward and build the Jersey City that we know is possible,” said Lavarro. “The status quo is a city that seems to have a shooting on a daily basis while the current mayor says crime is down; versus a Fulop administration that recognizes we have a tale of two cities and that all Jersey City residents can be much safer and MUST BE.”
Lavarro was critical of the current Mayor’s overuse of tax abatements, resulting in taxes increasing by 80% over the past ten years, and his laid back approach to governing that saw corruption charges brought to key people in the administration.
“A Fulop administration will use tax abatements judiciously, keeping costs in line, streamlining and stabilizing our taxes,” said Lavarro. “And as Mayor, Steve Fulop will be hands on, hyper-engaged on a daily basis, and a leader on pay-to-play reform.”
Fulop’s three at-large (city-wide) candidates are Councilman Lavarro, Daniel Rivera and Joyce Waterman. The other candidates on the ticket are: Frank Gajewski in Ward A, Khemraj “Chico” Ramchal in Ward B, Assemblyman Sean Connors in Ward D, Candice Osborne in Ward E, and Councilwoman Diane Coleman in Ward F. Fulop plans to finalize his choice for Ward C shortly.
“Once my teammates get elected, they are going to do a terrific job for all of the city,” Fulop said.