We are all very well aware that these are very trying times for our great city. As a lifelong resident, teacher, business owner and member of the Board of Education, I have been fortunate to see our city from many perspectives and understand the glaring needs that confront us. As an educator, I see the hope in the eyes of our young people that have yet to be corrupted by the ills of our society and this inspires me. As a funeral director, I also see the all too familiar young face of death due to the senseless violence occurring in our streets and this breaks my heart.
When I began my career in public service it was to help give our young people a fighting chance at success. Now serving in my second term on the board I feel as if there is more that I can do not just for our youth but for all our residents. That is why, I am humbled that so many different individuals who care about our great city—neighbors, fellow business owners, elected officials, and others—have approached me and asked me to consider a Mayoral campaign. Many of those who have approached me about running believe that my history of working with individuals from all groups and backgrounds makes me that consensus candidate.
We are, unfortunately, all too aware of the polarizing nature of the local political landscape, and it’s exceedingly clear that the next Mayor must be someone who can bridge the divide between different groups. I am also aware that this next election is without question one that represents a tipping point for our city. I love my city and feel I owe it to the community that raised me and made me the man I am today to seriously consider the unique challenge of moving Paterson forward as our next Mayor.
Therefore, it is with an inspired spirit that I inform you that I am establishing an Exploratory Committee related to a possible campaign for Mayor of our city. Over the next month, I look forward to speaking with leaders throughout our civic, faith-based, and business sectors, as well as leaders within our cultural and ethnic communities, to confirm enthusiasm for a potential candidacy. I will also consult with many of our current elected and other public officials in this same way.
I look forward to communicating with Patersonians over the course of this exploratory effort, and am confident that my eventual decision will be the right one, both for me as well as for our great city.
Written by Manny Martinez, Jr., a two-term school board member.