ORANGE – Senate President Richard Codey (D-Essex) today endorsed Eldridge Hawkins, Jr., for mayor in this city in search of a leader in the aftermath of Mims Hackett’s fall.
"Eldridge Hawkins has the right combination of talent and experience to lead Orange in a new direction," said Codey, who served with the candidate’s father, Eldridge Hawkins, in the General Assembly in the early 1970s.
"Eldridge will bring new ideas, extraordinary competence, and leadership in law enforcement, business management and education to the government of Orange," Codey said. "Eldridge Hawkins is a law enforcement expert who has a sensible plan to make Orange safer. Eldridge is a businessman who understands how to create tight budgets, staff City Hall with seasoned professional managers, attract new tax-paying businesses and hold the line on rising property taxes."
Hawkins, a patrolman in West Orange and a licensed realtor, today told PolitickerNJ.com that he is proud to have Codey’s backing.
"He’s widely respected, he’s from here and he represents the people of Orange," said Hawkins. "It is critical that the mayor of Orange have a good relationship with the legislators who represent our city, and in this case our senate president."
Facing federal corruption charges, Hackett did not run for re-election this year. Running to succeed him are Hawkins, At-Large Council Donald Page, North Ward Councilwoman Tency Eason, Zoning Board chair Janice Morrell, Planning Board chair Dwight Holmes, and activist Betty Brown.
Michael Vieira, spokesman for Page, said Codey's endorsement of Hawkins came as no surprise.
"I don't think Sen. Codey has ever been a supporter of Donald Page's," Vieira said. "When he ran for councilman at-large, Codey supported the other candidate and Donald still won. Codey should stay in West Orange. This is Orange."