Longtime Ward F community advocate Frank “Educational” Gilmore formally kicked off his council campaign during a brief event for supporters and press last night.
By Daniel Ulloa/Hudson County View
He kicked off his campaign outside his community learning center on Monticello Avenue in Greenville.
He is currently running as an independent against incumbent Jermaine Robinson, who is part of Mayor Steven Fulop’s ticket. Gilmore said that while he has no plans to join anyone’s slate, that could change since the election isn’t until November 2nd.
He opened up by honoring past community activists, saying they “fought for others when they were fighting for their own lives.”
One example is civil rights leader Carolyn Oliver Fair, Gilmore’s aunt who passed away last month. He recalled that she often tried to convince him to run for office.
“Today Aunty, today I’m running for office,” he said to applause from the crowd.
He noted other community advocates as well, such as former Councilwoman Viola Richardson, who served both Ward F and at-large during her political career. She sadly lost a bout with COVID-19 last year.
“I remember Viola as a police officer. But the thing I enjoyed about Viola is she was always visible. She was always visible. She went to the restaurants where she would see the community at,” Gilmore noted.
Regarding Frances Thompson, he said, “I know what it feels like when the odds are stacked against you when the deck is stacked against you. She simply broke down barriers.”
“It is because of these heroes today that I am able to sit here and say that I’m running for Ward F city council,” he declared.
Gilmore noted many have seen him as an advocate and ask him why he is running.
“A wise guy once told me to be the change you want to see,” he said quoting a famous line from Barack Obama’s first presidential campaign.
“We’re going focus on key areas to enhance the quality of life in Jersey City namely Ward F,” Gilmore added.
He explained why he wants to enhance public safety, in particular building trust between the JCPD and the community.
“We’re going to make sure that department heads from the Jersey City Police Department is meeting with the community members, coming up with strategic measures to make sure we rid violence in our community,” Gilmore said.
“It’s a multi-level problem so it’s going to take a multi-level solution to get rid of violence. It’s going to take all hands on deck.”
Gilmore added that he plans to ensure all streets are properly lit and sidewalks are cleared of snow to ensure pedestrians are safe at all hours, as well as putting an emphasis back on recreation for the youth (he works for the city’s recreation department).
“Recreation is not just sports people. Recreation is not just in the summertime. Recreation is all year round. We need to create a recreation that’s going to be all year round.”
He said he would focus on increasing young enrichment, apprenticeship, and meteor programs.
“We want to make sure we’re doing our best to make sure our youth here in Jersey City have a fighting chance to compete with their counterparts in the rest of the world,” he said.
Gilmore said he also wants to improve affordable housing, including affordable homeownership.
“Now this community is seeing some revitalization We have been here for the trials and tribulations so we must be here to enjoy the glorious days as well,” he explained.
“I don’t just want affordable housing in one establishment. we want it scattered around. We want people to be next to people who inspire them to do better, who inspire them to achieve something productive in their life.”
He noted a diverse crowd that had gathered in support and said, “This is the People’s Ward F.”
Gilmore said he would be a representative for everyone, not just those who are campaign donors.
“We’re advocates for everybody … It’s going to be a collective approach for us to advocate for everybody.”
The challenger acknowledged he’s the underdog in this race, but said he still feels confident.
“We have the people and with the people anything is possible … That’s why this is the People’s Ward F. We’re going to return glory to Jersey City and Ward F.”
Gilmore filed with the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission (NJ ELEC) that he planned on seeking the Ward F council seat, as HCV first reported.