PATERSON, NJ - Fourth Ward Councilwoman Ruby Cotton was surrounded by family, friends, and supporters Friday as she delivered signed petitions to the Paterson City Clerk’s Office in her bid to retain the seat she has held since 2012.

“Thank you for your support,” she said, recognizing everyone who had joined her individually. “Great things are happening in the City of Paterson.” 

Among those by Cotton’s side was long time community activist Jamie Bland who said that Cotton has “caring and passion” for the community. Recalling a time before she was not as active as she is now Bland looked directly at Cotton and thanked her. “You taught me how to be involved,” Bland told her.

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Also on hand, among other members of the clergy, were Reverend Allan Boyer of Bethel AME and Reverend Alex McDonald of Second Baptist Church.

“Every time we do outreach ministry, or we need resources, she always supports us,” Boyer said, with McDonald adding that “we have come to depend on her, we just pick up the phone and she’s there.”

Acknowledging herself that there are still many issues that plague the Fourth Ward Cotton told TAPinto Paterson she plans to continue to working with organizations like Habitat for Humanity and the United Way to bring more affordable housing to the neighborhoods. She also wants to continue to empower residents to reduce crime by making their homes less attractive to those committing them.

Additionally, Cotton said, she wants to expand efforts to make sure tenants have their voices heard, and that all residents know how to avail of the many services that are often available, but underutilized.

Cotton also showed the support of elected officials at all levels in Paterson, including Mayor Andre Sayegh, Councilwoman-at-Large Dr. Lilisa Mimms, and Board of Education Commissioner Corey Teague.

“I am proud to stand  alongside her for the work that she has done, is doing, and will continue to do,” Mimms said. “Ruby stands for progress and leadership,” something, Mimms suggested, is even more important in 2020 as the year marks the 100th anniversary of women getting the right to vote. 

Most importantly, Mimms said, Cotton has been and continues to be a visible presence in the community.

“If people don’t know you they can’t trust you to get the job done,” Mimms suggested. “People know who Ruby is.”

Teague offered an assessment of his own saying that Cotton “has proven to be a leader in the community,” and while there are still issues to be resolved, “ we can’t expect things to happen overnight.”

Under Cotton’s leadership, Teague said, “the Fourth Ward is heading in the right direction.” 

Cotton is expected to face opposition in the May 12 contest from Justin Rucker, who turned in his own petitions on Wednesday, and former Board of Education Commissioner Eddy Olivares.

Well known activist, and one of the founders of local non-profit Paterson Cares, Roger “Gee” Grier, also rumored to be a prospective candidate, told TAPinto Paterson on Saturday that he is not running “at this point.”

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