Fil-Ams gather to support Racelis
Jersey City, NEW JERSEY, April 21, 2005 --- In a rare show of unity, Filipino business people, politicians and supporters joined together in a dinner party Friday night to raise funds for Racelis
, the only Filipino-American candidate in May 10 elections.
"I'm running for Council on a belief that we can have a responsive, proactive, and practical government that will work for our people and help to stabilize our taxes.
I'll see to it that those tax dollars will go to create safer neighborhoods for Ward B," said Racelis
, amid rousing applause of about 300 supporters.
During his kick-off party, National Association for Advancement of Colored People
(NAACP) President-Jersey City chapter- Kabili Tayari gave a ringing endorsement of Racelis
We need to have Greg Racelis elected to empower the Filipino Americans," said Tayari, who was a former president of the Jersey City Board of Education.
"The late mayor Glenn Cunningham had a lot of faith in Greg.
Racelis, who used to work as the city's director of economic opportunity and chief of operations and chief fiscal officer of the late Mayor Glenn Cunningham, intends to use his experience to improve the qualify of life of the people by utilizing the city's public schools for evening recreation.
Banking on his 30 years experience in accounting and auditing in private business and government service, Racelis promised that once elected, he would work hard to achieve stable taxes in the city.
is the only Filipino running in the City Council elections.
are pinning hopes on him because Ward B, which he
wants to represent, is an area where most Filipino Americans reside.
In the past years, many Filipino Americans tried to run for local elections to get a seat at the council, but lost.
Racelis run for council -at-large in 2001 elections and lost.
With increasing number of Filipinos in the city , or about 10 percent of the voting population, most Filipinos have great optimism that Racelis could be elected.
During the event, John de los Santos, president of Citizens Mortgage Corp.
Called on Filipino Americans to vote and support Racelis
so that Filipinos
would have a voice in the Council.
was donating $2,500 to Racelis' campaign.
Lito Gajilan, publisher of Filipino Express, urged Filipinos to unite and be counted for Racelis.
"Our support for Racelis
is a sign that our community has matured," he
If elected, Racelis priorities include monitoring education and administrative performance of the city, holding the city more accountable by administrating its employment and training programs, providing safer neighborhoods with increase police presence on Westside Avenue, Mallory Avenue, and the Marion Section of the city, encouraging the youth to work with the Youth Build Program, building affordable homes for seniors, and working to create more city street lighting.
Racelis was also appointed a couple of years ago as commissioner for Jersey City Employment and Training where he was tasked to help thousands of Jersey City residents get jobs by giving them training and helping them in job search.
He was also a former commissioner and chairman and treasurer of the Jersey City Parking Authority.
is facing formidable opponents.
is an independent candidate with proven track record and service in government," said Tauro
But businesswoman Elma Santander, president of Philippine Bread House ,is confident that with the support of Filipinos and other ethnic minorities, Racelis would be victorious.
has a home-base, and it's the Filipino community.
Born and raised in the Philippines, Racelis
immigrated to the U.S. in 1972.
Darrell Laval, director of Jersey City's
housing authority, recalled that when he
was 22 years old and was working as a driver, he
to help him buy a home.
was surprised that Racelis
went out his
way to accompany him to find a suitable home for him and his
Despite meager income, Racelis
helped him realized his
dream of owning a home through his
Laval, who volunteered to campaign for Racelis
, said his group has forged alliance with African Americans, Hispanic, Asian and White voters to elect Racelis