By John Heinis/Hudson County View
In a statement, Billy cited recently being named the executive director of the Hudson Pride Connection as the main reason why he was suspending his campaign.
“This role will allow me to advocate on behalf of Jersey City’s LGBTQ community and serve as a voice for them as we all work towards making our home the place we all know it can be,” he said.
“Since being appointed, we’ve undertaken initiatives with enormous gravity, including finding a new home for our Center in Jersey City, expanding our health and human services and beginning the path to open a shelter for our LGBT youth. I would rather do one job well, than do two adequately.”
He announced his candidacy in May, the only candidate to do so before incumbent Candice Osborne announced she wouldn’t be seeking re-election.
Billy further stated that 21 trans people have been murdered this year in the United States and LGBT makes up 40 percent of the homeless youth population, making it clear he is more needed in his role as an activist right now.
He also said that he was endorsing Grillo because he believes in responsible development and he will “fight to ensure that each and every person has equal representation inside the City Hall.”
Grillo was gracious in accepting the support.
“As two deep rooted, civic minded individuals we have been involved in several community organizations. The LBGT and Muslim communities have a solid voice in Michael. He will have an open door to my office in City Hall,” Grillo said in an email.
“As a council hopeful in Ward E, I will serve ALL RESIDENTS and will be available when needed. As a business owner, I am afforded this luxury. I look forward to selflessly serving the residents of Ward E. I don’t take any votes for granted, so I welcome any questions from residents.”
Ward E is one of the more hotly contested November 7th elections in Jersey City, with now five candidates campaigning for the seat and none of them running on Mayor Steven Fulop’s ticket.
Fulop has said he won’t be endorsing a candidate in that ward, though other Hudson County Democratic Organization mainstays have publicly backed Grillo’s candidacy.
Another wrinkle is that although Billy will no longer be actively campaigning, he will still appear on the ballot since they’ve already been printed.
The other candidates in the race are Jake Hudnut, an attorney whose running on Bill Matsikoudis’ ticket, attorney Madeleine Cag, Evict-Trump Kushner leader James Solomon and attorney Rebecca Symes.