Councilman William McKoy received the endorsement of three “influential” Latino leaders as his campaign tries to win over Hispanic voters.
Former councilman Juan Torres, longtime constable Robert Toledo, and Oswaldo Aguirre endorsed McKoy at a breakfast event in late February.
“I know his track record,” said Torres on Sunday citing McKoy’s role in re-developing the McLean Boulevard corridor that is home to Lowe’s, Home Depot, Micro Center, and other big box stores. “He is a problem solver with a strong voice of reason, common sense and the know-how that can give this great city the ray of hope we need.”
Torres represented the 5th Ward on the council for two terms from 2000-08. He said McKoy assured him his administration will focus on bringing development and jobs to the Silk City.
“He knows how to run his house. If he can run his house, he can run the city,” said Toledo of McKoy.
Toledo, who calls himself “chief” of constables in Passaic County, has known McKoy for 15-20 years.
McKoy has served on the council for 18 years.
“He’s the only one that can do something for Paterson,” said Aguirre.
Torres and Toledo hail from the Puerto Rican community; Aguirre is from the city’s Chilean community.
Aguirre said there was once 120 families of Chilean descent in the city. He said that number has dwindled over the years. Similarly, the Puerto Rican community in the city has shrunk over the years. It still remains a force in local politics.
Puerto Rican voters are moving towards mayoral candidate Alex Cruz. His campaign is backed by diehard ex-mayor Jose “Joey” Torres supporters, according to political strategists.
The Dominican community is the largest Hispanic group in the city. Mayoral candidates Alex Mendez and Pedro Rodriguez hail from the Dominican community.
McKoy’s campaign is expected to have a tough time with the city’s Dominican community. The councilman’s role in passing a no confidence measure against ex-councilman Julio Tavarez, who is of Dominican heritage, has soured relationship with that community, according to political strategists.
Hispanics make up 61-percent of the city’s population.
“Standing up here with this great group of leaders and friends I know we will move Paterson forward. Getting our city back on track is not a job for one person to do but it takes all of us working together to move forward,” said McKoy. “Every day our country is becoming more divisive but we as a city must do the opposite and unite and work together.”
McKoy’s campaign has not targeted Hispanic voters as hard as other campaigns. His campaign appears to be gearing up for a concerted effort to win over Hispanic voters.