In a battle to succeed Orange Mayor Mims Hackett, mayoral candidate Donald Page formally introduced his three council running mates at a reception in Verona last night.
"My friends – it is time for ‘A New Beginning,’" Page, an at-large councilman, told an audience at the Richfield Regency. "It is time to put an end to politics as usual. It is time to put an end to a city government that only works for special interests and political friends. It is time to do something about property taxes. It is time do something about crime."
The candidate, a delegate for Sen. Barack Obama who last November announced his intentions to run for mayor, last night welcomed Rayfield Morton, Antoine "Tony" Desormes and Andrea Elliot as his running mates.
According to a release issued by the Page campaign, business owner and community activist Desormes has lived in Orange for more than 40 years and is a well-know member of the Haitian community.
"Mr. Desormes is going to be an invaluable member of my team," Page said. "One of my goals as Mayor is to work closely with the business community and I have already reached out to our many business owners. Tony is a respected businessman and he has helped me on many local issues, not just in the business community and Haitian community, but issues that affect everyone in Orange. He is ready to be an excellent Councilman."
"I am excited to be a part of the Page Team that will bring a new beginning for the City of Orange," said Desormes. "As a business owner, I share the beliefs of our next mayor Donald Page and his vision for the City of Orange. I look forward to the campaign and serving the people of Orange."
Page also introduced Morton, a lifelong resident of Orange, vice-chairman of the Orange Zoning Board and member of the Citizens’ Budget Advisory Committee in Orange.
"Mr. Morton does some very impressive work with the young residents of Orange," Page said. "He works to develop their talents in the performing arts with a program located at Orange High School. In order to qualify for his program, however, the children must attend class, keep up their grades and stay out of trouble. He does some very remarkable work with our kids and I am delighted to have him on my ticket."
"I was happy that Donald asked me to be a part of his team," Morton said. " One of my goals is to create a new Friendship House in Orange to give our children a positive place to go to after school for productive activities. I know Donald Page is committed to the youth of Orange and he will bring a new beginning to this city. I look forward to working with him on behalf of all the citizens of Orange."
The third council candidate, longtime Orange resident Elliot, is an auditor with the state Department of Treasury. She was also a member of the Citizens Budget Advisory Committee in Orange.
"In working with Andrea on the Citizens Budget Committee, I was impressed by her diligence, dedication and insight into the fiscal issues facing our community which led me at ask her to join our team and bring her expertise to the City of Orange as a member of the Orange City Council," Page said.
"I deem it a privilege to be a part of such a remarkable team," Elliot said. "I am compassionate about the City of Orange and it is a place with so much history and diversity and I stand behind our mayoral candidate Donald Page when he says that it is time for a new beginning. Orange needs fixing and we are here to take on that task."
The filing deadline to run for office in Orange's May 13 elections is March 20. Hackett has not said publicly he plans to run, but he's facing public corruption charges and is scheduled to stand trial in the spring.
In addition to Page, those who have picked up petitions at City Hall to run for mayor include two Hackett allies on the council, Council President Lisa Perkins and Councilwoman Tency Eason; and West Orange Police Officer Eldridge Hawkins, Jr.