Jersey City author and youth mentor Lewis Spears picked up his petitions for nominations for the mayor’s race, signaling he’s ready to challenge Mayor Steven Fulop.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
Spears filed an A-1 form with the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission (NJ ELEC) back on May 17th indicating he’d run for mayor, as HCV first reported, but today was the first time he decided to put himself out there as a candidate.
“My whole life I’ve always been a hard worker, I’ve done what I had to do to provide to my family. I’ve always done it with integrity and fidelity. This isn’t about the mayor, it’s about the people, it’s a people’s movement: united we are the answer.”
An aide to Assemblyman Nick Chiaravalloti (D-31) and a youth grant coordinator for Hudson County, Spears was unceremoniously welcomed to the race last month when the mayor’s campaign spokesman attacked him over his public employment.
Spears said this evening that he wasn’t interested in trading barbs, though was willing to elaborate on why he put Fulop in his crosshairs in a Facebook post on April 23rd.
Specifically, Spears explained that he was angered after the mayor had mentioned that certain activists are silent after instances of Black on Black crime during an interview on the Black Law Enforcement Serving the Community (BLESC) podcast.
“I know that the idea of Black on Black crime has to be dispelled because historically that has been used to describe some of the brutal interactions Blacks have had with the police,” he explained.
“We have to dispel that notion … there’s more white on white crime and there’s no phrase for that. We, especially as leaders in the community, shouldn’t be using phrases that would further hurt the disenfranchised.”
The 37-year-old, a first time candidate for office, will have an uphill battle against the two-term incumbent, who reported $1.7 million cash on hand between his personal account and his team account in April, according to campaign finance records.
While Spears acknowledged that matching Fulop dollar for dollar won’t be possible, he cautioned about underestimating the will of the people.
“Money plays a big role in this process but we cannot deny the power of people and the will of the people to make a change. Money is important, being popular is always great, but when you have people who are not wealthy, who are not well connected, they want to be safe, and want what’s best for them as well. We can’t deny the will of the people to vote for a great cause.”
Spears also admitted that he’s not in an ideal position, given that he didn’t announce his candidacy with a full slate a year-and-a-half to two years ago, but continued that he’s used to making the best of a bad situation and doesn’t mind challenging Fulop one-on-one.
“I’m home grown, I remember a Jersey City that considered everyone. I remember a Jersey City that is essentially a community. With the people’s help and their will, we will win in November.”
The non-partisan Jersey City municipal elections, where the mayoralty and nine council seats will be decided, are on November 2nd.
Mayoral candidates must submit 1,680 petitions for nomination to the clerk’s office by August 30th.