PATERSON, NJ- Just days after Paterson voters went to the polls and helped propel Democratic candidate Phil Murphy to the Governor’s office, a Saturday night event at the Masonic Temple turned attention right back to the quickly evolving race for Mayor of Paterson.

In what Tiffany McKoy called “an official campaign kick-off,” more than 200 guests packed the Masonic Temple and heard of how together they’d bring change to Paterson over “the next five years,” by electing her father, Bill McKoy, on May 8, 2018.

While McKoy, Paterson’s longest serving member of the City Council, declared his intention to run for Mayor earlier this year, the event kicked the campaign to another level. The candidate worked the room for several hours, shaking hands table by table, guest by guest, pausing only briefly at times to take photos with supporters, many of whom wore T-shirts or buttons emblazoned with the campaign’s logo.

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Even as the hours ticked by excitement didn’t diminish at all. With the band continuing to play, and food being served, Tiffany McKoy would take to the stage several times, each appearance reigniting the crowd and sending more attendees towards Councilman McKoy’s waiting embrace or handshake.

Dr. Jonathan Hodges, a member of the Paterson Board of Education, didn’t mince words when he said “Bill McKoy needs to be in the Mayor’s office.” Just coming off  his own successful reelection campaign, Hodges warned the crowd that if they wanted to elect McKoy it wouldn’t happen just by “clapping, partying or tapping people on the back.” Success, he said, would only be achieved if “a lot of people come together to work.”

Several recognizable faces would also share their thoughts on why McKoy should be elected in May, none more forcefully than Corey Teague, a self-described activist in the city since 1997 and a former member of the Paterson Board of Education. While Teague said he has looked closely at each of the candidates that are ultimately expected to launch campaigns in the coming months one “stood out from the crowd.”

Lamenting that too often Paterson’s elected leaders fall victim to “going along to get along, corruption and silliness,” McKoy is, according to Teague, a “man who means business,” and is someone who can “get the business of the city completed.”

Despite the many issues he’ll encounter if elected McKoy has, Teague believes, “the guts, mindset, will and power” to make the changes necessary.

More than three hours after the guests arrived Tiffany McKoy grabbed the microphone a final time and introduced the candidate as a man with more than 30 years of public service who is also a “24-7 father and grandfather.” As the band continued to play Bill McKoy took the stage to a mostly standing crowd, pumping his fist and declaring that in Paterson “we can do better,” adding “we must do better.”

While McKoy’s comments may have been short on time they weren’t short on enthusiasm. Stating that “now is the time to move Paterson forward,” McKoy shared his vision for making the city stronger by implementing strong “policies and procedures,” and finding opportunities to increase revenues, thereby taking the financial burden of running the city off the backs of homeowners, and ultimately making it a “turnaround city” that is “a model for other inner cities.”

Offering one specific example where additional revue could be found McKoy, with an idea that could tick several boxes towards improving Paterson’s neighborhoods, suggested the Department of Public Works should be “run like an enterprise”, given the tools necessary to rehabilitate city properties that employees could then live in.

McKoy offered his belief that while problems such as drugs, abandoned homes and homelessness are difficult ones they are not “insurmountable.” If elected, his time as mayor would be used to “enrich the community.”

“The tide is changing,” McKoy said in closing to thunderous applause. “Paterson is awake.”