Readers write in on why they’re voting for Education Matters, Frank Gilmore, Chris Gadsden, Amy DeGise and Ri – nj.com

Hard-working, community-minded
Please accept the following endorsements for Education Matters for the Jersey City Board of Education, Frank Gilmore for Ward F council and Chris Gadsden and Amy DeGise for council-at-large:
As a former resident of Paulus Hook since 2005 and a homeowner in Ward F since 2011, I have had the opportunity to observe and reflect on the work of these individuals and know them to be dedicated, hard-working and qualified to serve the community in public office.
Having known Natalia Ioffe for some years, I admire the way she created extracurricular employment opportunities for Jersey City Public School teachers through a non-profit so they could continue working with their own students, strengthening their relationship and academic development. I was also impressed by Natalia’s initiatives to create scholarships for less fortunate, and bridging the Downtown and Greenville communities to sponsor HBCU college tours. Living in direct proximity to Booker T. housing, Natalia has worked with me on reviving the Gateway Park, applying for improvements, holding events, and helping young people living in Booker T. become park ambassadors through the JCETP employment program.
Being a daughter of an educator, I deeply connect to Paula Jones-Watson and her sincerity in ensuring that every child has an opportunity to succeed. Her character is evident in the way she approaches and cares for all children, but especially most vulnerable ones. Paula strives to achieve equity and fair opportunities for special needs students at all costs, that they may be able to thrive and succeed in life. She has given 34 years of her teaching career to this mission and shows no sign of stopping.
Younass Barkouch is a young person with a vision to make a world a better place, but he approaches it with a thoroughly developed and workable plan. As a first generation immigrant who has had to learn the English language and navigate his own way though school and university, he has reached great academic success while overcoming personal hardships. He is hopes to charter a path for future generations of students, creating a support system to prepare them for college and career.
Together, I believe that Natalia, Paula and Younass possess a perfect combination of experience, compassion and dedication to serve all students of Jersey City.
Frank Gilmore has won my respect and admiration with the empathy he has to all people. I have observed his growth through multiple initiatives that we have done for the community. Whether it was through “Ward F Forum” or when preparing gift bags for the elderly or his care for the kids that come in to his center Frank’s compassion for his community shows in everything he does. In learning to serve all people, Frank has diligently educated himself in policies and legislations, and made the effort to understand the various cultures and lifestyles outside of his own. I also appreciate that Frank doesn’t react impulsively to things, he contemplates, takes the time to absorb, and makes decisions holistically, which is very important when making important decisions. He has no problem acknowledging his mistakes and whenever possible rectifying his mistakes. Most importantly, Frank Gilmore is known for putting others before himself and that is a necessary quality in a public servant.
I am happy to also recommend Amy DeGise for the council-at-large position. As a business professional with decades-long career in IT, project management and real estate, I am very impressed by Amy’s original ideas, expertise and the dedication that she brings to the job. Amy took the time to become OSHA certified in order to better understand safety conditions during development. As a female candidate in Jersey City, she has proven to have a strong original voice that stands out. I especially support her vision for workforce housing, which is practical and needed.
I strongly believe that Amy has what it takes to represent the Jersey City community at large.
I am also happy to endorse Chris Gadsden for council-at-large, who has served Jersey City community in so many ways as a council person, educator and principal. Chris understands the challenges of this city’s government; he has a strong voice for all people. Chris has demonstrated the through his history and track record, as a city council person and his fight for his students and staff, his character and morals are always for the rights of the community. Chris’s strategy is and has always been to make housing in Jersey City affordable, ensuring all children are educated equally, unified the community and partner with BOE, state and federal initiatives for the betterment of Jersey City.
I, as a constituent, do not look at the ticket people run on, I research and look at the historical facts and track record of the individual to make a decision.
Alika Muhammad, Jersey City
Proud to work with, endorse Boggiano
As the leaders in Jersey City’s Middle and Far East communities, it is our pleasure to jointly announce our endorsement of Rich Boggiano for Jersey City’s Ward C City Council position.
As representatives of largely immigrant populations in Jersey City, we have been especially proud to work with Rich during the past 18 years as part of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point’s Winning the Peace program. The program includes annual visits to Jersey City by West Point cadets who have an opportunity to immerse themselves in the wonderful mix of ethnicities and religions that surround the Journal Square area. This program would have never gotten off the ground if it were not for Rich, his knowledge of the city and his willingness to volunteer his time.
Since coming to know him through the Winning the Peace program, we have spent the last 18 years working with Rich to build a better community in and around Journal Square. As Ward C councilman, Rich has been a voice for our community. Time and again he has come to our aid when we needed it. Just recently as of this summer, when the Indian and Asian business community was plagued with a string of crimes, it was Councilman Boggiano who immediately reacted and implemented a plan to address the public safety issues. His swift action not only resolved our problems, but reassured the business community at-large and the residents they serve.
Whether it be helping with community issues, navigating the city’s bureaucracy or speaking with city representatives on behalf of our communities, Rich is someone we wholly trust for his honesty and willingness to donate his time for the sake of others.
On Nov. 2, we proudly ask all residents of the Journal Square area to vote for Rich Boggiano for Ward C City Council.
Ahmed Shedeed, Representative, Egyptian community
Raju Patel, Representative, Indian community
Rafiq Chaudhry, M.D., Representative Pakistani community
Emad Attaalla, Representative, Egyptian Community
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