MAYOR DON GUARDIAN’S CAMPAIGN RE-ELECTION SPEECH
Thursday, March 16, 2017
People often ask me, why would I want to run for Mayor of Atlantic City again? My answer is simple. I love my City.
I love the people who LIVE in my City. I love the people who WORK in my City. And I love the people who PLAY in my city.
This has been the greatest job of my life. I feel as if God has been preparing me for this job my whole life.
There is no place I’d rather be right now, than standing here before you, humbly serving as your mayor.
Four years ago, everything was broken. Literally, everything was broken. There was a lot of work to be done. People were hurting. Our morale was low. And the City was in shambles. We needed a new beginning.
Four years ago, people said you that I could never fix any of the problems plaguing Atlantic City.
1. People said that I could never reduce the size of City government.
2. People said that I could never reduce the City budget.
3. People said that it was impossible to not raise taxes on residents.
4. People said that I could never convince the State to give us millions of dollars in financial aid.
5. People said that our police department could never have a great relationship with the community.
6. People said I would never bring affordable and market rate housing to Atlantic City.
7. People said that our roads (and especially Pacific Avenue) would never be repaved.
8. People said that I would never rebuild our parks, basketball courts, and playgrounds.
9. People said that I would never be new investors attracted to Atlantic City.
10. And people said that a REPUBLICAN would NEVER be elected Mayor of Atlantic City!
Well, today I say to you……NEVER SAY NEVER!!!
Four years ago, I humbly asked you, the residents of Atlantic City, to give me your vote to be a mayor for everyone. I humbly asked you to give me your vote to start rebuilding our great city. You gave me that vote. You gave me that chance. And for that, I thank you for the bottom of my heart.
Four years ago, we started rebuilding Atlantic City together.
1. We did reduce the size of City government by over 350 individuals.
2. We did reduce the budget by over $50 million dollars.
3. We did not raise municipal taxes on our residents in 2015.
4. The State has given the City tens of millions of dollars in transitional aid.
5. Our police department does have a great relationship with our community.
6. We did build over 500 affordable and market rate housing in Atlantic City.
7. We have repaved over 50% of our roads, including Pacific Avenue.
8. Our basketball courts, soccer and baseball fields, and playgrounds have all been rebuilt or being rebuilt right now as we speak. Just go look at Brown’s Park today.
9. Since I was sworn in as Mayor in January of 2014, Stockton University, South Jersey Gas, Wasseem Boraie, Bart Blatstein, Glen Straub, Ronnie Young, John Longacre, Mark Callazzo, Jim Allen, Joe Jingoli, Jack Morris, and Hard Rock International, to name a few, have all developed and invested hundreds of millions of dollars into Atlantic City.
Never say never.
From the beginning, I have said that I only wanted two terms as your mayor. I said that “If I could not fix the enormous problems facing our great city in eight years, then I would humbly step aside to allow someone else to try to fix it.”
We are only halfway through rebuilding our great City. We still need to finish the great work that God has given us to do.
And as the tireless leader Nehemiah from the Old Testament once said, “I am carrying on a great work and cannot come down.”
Today, I humbly stand before you again.
Today, I am asking you for the chance to continue the great work that ALL OF US began four years ago.
Today, I am humbly asking you for your vote to serve another four years as your mayor of Atlantic City.
As any mayor would tell you, he needs a team to accomplish his vision. First and foremost, I want to thank my wonderful husband Louis. Without his love and support, none of this would be possible.
I want to thank all the residents of Atlantic City who believed and supported my vision over the past four years. I want to thank members of the African American, Latino, White, Asian, Bangladesh, Vietnamese, Pakistani, and Chinese communities who have made our City a wonderfully diverse place to raise a family.
I want to thank all of my directors and chiefs of public safety. You have all served our Atlantic City residents honorably and diligently.
I want to thank Chris Filiciello, my Chief of Staff, and my wonderful assistants Jaz Rivera and Linda Garlitos, for all their hard work during some difficult times. You are the best.
I want to thank all of our City Hall employees. You have been through a lot over the last few years, but you are still standing tall. Thank you for your dedicated service to our Atlantic City residents.
I also want to thank City Council, especially those City Councilmen who stood with us last year against the State takeover. You showed great courage and determination to do the right thing for the residents of Atlantic City.
Now today, I would like to introduce three new council candidates. These three new council candidates are running for City Council-at-large. I selected these three individuals because they all have been serving our Atlantic City community for many years and I believe will make wonderful council members next year.
Diversity is very important to me. Atlantic City is a very diverse city, so I wanted to try and select running mates that reflected Atlantic City’s racial and gender diversity.
You may have not heard of them before, which is good. That’s because they have been serving Atlantic City for years out of the spotlight. They are new to politics, but not new to our community.
They all either have deep Atlantic City roots or intend to build their future here in Atlantic City.
They are committed to serving you. They are committed to doing the doing the right thing by putting the Atlantic City residents first.
They all have demonstrated public service away from the spotlight. It was only because I reached out to them personally to ask them to serve on my ticket is why they are offering themselves up to you today candidates for City Council members at-large.
They all agreed to continue to serve our Atlantic City community on the next level of public service.
We need fresh ideas. We need different perspectives. We need more diversity. Please allow me to introduce each of them.
Ron Bailey, a lifelong resident of Atlantic City, who attended Atlantic City schools and lives on the border of the 4th and 5th wards. Ron is currently serving as an EMT in the area. And ironically, Ron is also a lifelong Democrat who recently switched to the Republican Party because he believes in our vision.
He never thought he would have an opportunity to run on the Mayor’s ticket, but when I reached out to him and I shared with him my vision for the next four years, he immediately said yes.
Ron recognized that the Atlantic City Republican Party is different than the Republican Party that you see on tv.
When Ron was only 11 years old, he joined a community watch organization that fought back against drug dealers in his neighborhood. For that, he won the prestigious “Distinguished Citizenship Award” given by the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement.
Since then, Ron has gone on to win other numerous other public service awards while serving the Atlantic City community including the American Red Cross Youth Volunteer Award, the CPR Save Award (twice), Top 40 Under 40 by the Atlantic City Weekly, and the Chelsea Neighborhood’s “Distinguished Citizenship Award”.
Having to make life saving decisions on a daily basis, Ron will be bringing his experience in public safety and first-hand interaction with our Atlantic City residents to his seat on City Council. He said he is willing to take your calls at all hours of the night, which as an EMT, is something he is already used to. Thank you, Ron, for your continued willingness to serve the residents of Atlantic City.
Speaking of a someone who has deep roots in Atlantic City, Stacey Kammerman is a fourth-generation Atlantic City resident. She also has attended Atlantic City schools, lives in the second ward, and has close ties to the public safety community.
Stacey is also the only woman in this running for City Council this year.
Married for over 15 years to Police Captain Chris Kammerman, Stacey knows first-hand the danger that our police and fire personnel face every day. She knows the hard work they do to keep us safe, how they put their lives on the line, and how much they have sacrificed for this City.
Stacey is also a small business owner and Chief Operating Officer of Kammerman’s Marina. Prior to that, she had a very successful business teaching law enforcement and industry leaders the Spanish language for the workplace environment. She developed the Latin American Dream initiative to provide resources for the Hispanic Community. Stacey was the President of the local chapter of the NJ Association of Business Owners.
For all of these efforts through the years, Stacey has won numerous awards which include the NJ Association of Women Business Owners Teal Heart Award for Exceptional Service, People to Watch by Casino Connection Magazine, Top Ten Women in Business by South Jersey Magazine, Top 40 Under 40 in 2008 by the Atlantic City Weekly, and the Small Business Development Success Award.
Fluent in Spanish, Stacey will be bringing all her small business acumen, entrepreneurship skills, and public safety experience to City Council. Thank you, Stacey, for putting yourself forward as a highly-qualified candidate for public office.
Paul Tonacci is someone who sees his future as an Atlantic City future. Paul is a tremendously talented, motivated, and thoughtful young man.
Paul speaks Spanish as well and was born in Chile. He was adopted as a baby and grow up in New Jersey. Paul currently lives in Chelsea Heights, and has been a small business owner and entrepreneur for all of his professional life. Paul is deeply passionate about helping
Atlantic City residents, especially those in the Hispanic Community.
Having studied abroad in Madrid, Spain and the country of Chile, Paul brings a unique small business background. You see, he was a former managing partner of the Atlantic City Bottle Company and the Iron Room. He is a well-known wine consultant and has been a guest columnist for the Press of Atlantic City and Wine Industry Network.
Paul graduated as a Fellow from the Lead Atlantic City Tomorrow (LEADACT) Program in 2016.
And as a small business entrepreneur, Paul is a member of the Greater Atlantic City Chamber of Commerce and the Metropolitan Business and Citizens Association here in Atlantic City. As 2015 member of the Top 40 under 40 awarded by the AC Weekly, Paul strongly represents small businesses in Atlantic City. Paul, thank you for offering your talents and enthusiasm to our great City.
These are the candidates that I have asked to join my ticket. In the coming months, we will be building a team of volunteers, knocking on thousands of doors, shaking thousands of hands, making thousands of calls, and so much more. We hope to see you out there on the campaign trail.
Now, starting with Ron I would like to call each Council-Candidate to the podium for a few words about themselves and why they are running for City Council.