Jersey City Ward F council candidate Dennis Burgess, a highly regarded lifelong martial artist who teaches free fitness classes at the Mary McLeod Bethune Center, sat down with Hudson County View to explain why heâ€™s running for local office.
“You know, I was always about people and a lot of people in Jersey City know me. I didn’t just start doing things for people, I was doing things for people in Jersey City [for] most of my life,” Burgess said.
“And to jump in the ring, it took me some thinking, but I had a push from the people because I’ve seen things that’s going on that I don’t like.”
A 10 time world brick breaking in fighting champion who openly admits he prefers to spar “hard style,” in other words with no pads, said it pained him to sit back and see Ward F’s problems continue to escalate – therefore he felt had no choice by to run for council.
When asked how he felt competing against incumbent Jermaine Robinson, who was appointed to the council in January and has the backing of Mayor Steven Fulop, Burgess didn’t seem at all concerned with that scenario.
“Being that I’m running, see I am not against … my fight is not against none of the candidates. My fight envisioned is against the problems of Ward F. So when I fight, I fight with a referee. I’m not gonna fight with these guys.”
In the November 7th race, Burgess also challenges Michael Griffin, Tyrone Ballon, Anthony Blake and Yolanda Dortch Amiker, the latter who is running with mayoral challenger Bill Matsikoudis.
One policy related initiative Burgess said he was passionate about is bringing a military recruitment office to Ward F, given the ideals the military is able to instill in young people.
“Now, the reason why is because there’s so many benefits in the military for our young tomorrow’s leaders. You go in, travel all over the world, you get paid for it. You learn about ‘yes sir, no sir,’ you learn about respect, loyalty. Self-esteem, wisdom and a whole lot more.”
Burgess was alongside none other than former pro football player and actor Fred Williamson, who knows the council candidate when they used to train under famed Bronx martial artist Aaron Banks.
Williamson said where he grew up in Chicago was very similar to Ward F in Jersey City and added that he wanted to vouch for Burgessâ€™ character and motivations for running.
“I’m here to certify what you [Burgess] have in your heart is real. There is no personal gain for you. The gain for you is to bring kids off the street and show them that things can be achieved. And that’s why I’m here: to show that you can achieve even if you come from a product like Ward F,” explained Williamson.
Often referred to as Master Supe (short for Superman), Burgess concluded by saying he couldn’t let this election cycle pass him by without putting his name on the ballot for the sake of the greater good.
“I have big dreams, goals and visions for Ward F, especially with the tough love programs. Tough love programs that will really clean up the streets, that will really bring back the love, the happiness, the healthiness in the community – bring back the village the way it used to be,” stated Burgess.
“I can play a part. That’s why I said to myself I can’t die and say to myself I didn’t try to make some type of change, being that I’m right in the mix of a mess.”