1. What about your background would make you a good state senator?
I was raised in politics, policy and community service so I can tell you that many kitchen table issues are not being heard on a state level. My goal is to build real relationships in Trenton so that we can bridge the gap between government and community. The fact of the matter is we, the people of LD-31, don’t feel represented and so it is my objective and obligation to fix that.
2. Have you ever run before for elective office?
I was elected to a Hudson County Committee Seat in 2004 under the leadership of our beloved late and great Mayor Glenn D Cunningham. I also ran for the Ward F seat in 2017. I came in second place in a six way race.
3. You’re running as a progressive. What makes you one?
Social justice, economic justice and enviously justice are all progressive ideals. Affordability, growing small businesses, raising the minimum wage, fully funding our public schools and environmental protections are important to me and my community. I will ensure that our needs are met by presenting legislation that will address these issues on all fronts.
4. Can you tell us about specific causes you’ve worked on in Jersey City?
I am the author of the No Knock ordinance. This ordinance was written and passed in 2018 to protect homeowners in Jersey City from aggressive speculators, investors and developers that act in a harassing matter. I also worked on the creation of the Jackson Hill Special Improvement District to assist, develop, encourage and enhance economic development within the Bergen and Greenville communities. I was also part of community collectives that wrote both The I Love Greenville Community Plan as well as The Bergen Communities United Community Plan. Both plans are state approved by the Department of Community Affairs. I lead a traffic and pedestrian safety walk in McGinley Square with resulted in major changes from countdown crossing signals to creating additional crosswalks and traffic lights. I was a member of the Jersey City Anti-Violence Unity Walk Committee as well as a board member. More recently, I worked with Community Builders to develop 55% affordable housing. This project will be completed in early 2024.
5. What do you feel are the most important issues to Jersey City residents and what would you do to address them?
Affordability first. Homeowners are being over taxed and renters are not being treated fairly. I would look to expand the existing eligibility of property tax deduction/credit to homeowners and renters.
Fully funding our public school systems. While our school systems in LD-31 are being underfunded, our State budget sits on a $4.2B surplus. Underfunded school systems should have access to more federal and state aid and NJ legislators should be fighting for it. I am committed to work hard to fully fund our public school systems.
Crime and safety issues are at the top of many residents’ list. We have been locking people up for years without real rehabilitation programs or incentives to reduce recidivism. Many crimes are committed due poverty and a poor quality of life; which includes education. It has been said that Jersey City is the economic engine of NJ yet many people are being left out. It is important to train our residents for job readiness in our communities as well as invest in our entrepreneurs and small businesses. We must meet the challenges of reducing poverty and unemployment so that we can reduce crime. We must also create a real community policing situation. I know I sound like a broken record but until we actually build these relationships, we will not see the positive results we are looking for. I say this to law enforcement and to residents.
6. Do you support the plan proposed for Liberty State Park by the Paul
Fireman backed groups “Liberty State Park for All” and “The People’s
No… I do want to see some more open recreational activities in Liberty Park but the plans put forward are not inclusive to the community nor are the environmentally sound.
7. Are Jersey City property taxes too low, about right or too high?
Property taxes are high in Jersey City..We have to remember that our drinking water is not included in our tax bill. We are charged by a third party (Veolia) for that service. Please understand that most municipalities include water because their local governments supply the services. We also have to go back to the tax reval where many homeowners were unfairly treated in the reassessment process. Now many homeowners are feeling the effects of the 32% tax increase that took affect in October 2022.
8. Is there anything else our readers should know about you? I am committed to bringing positive change to LD-31.
I was taught to leave my community better than it was when I am finished my work. I have no issues with speaking my mind and making mistakes along the way to our ultimate success.