Former Mayor Eldridge Hawkins, Jr throws hat in West Orange Mayoral Race

In a statement released on Monday, March 10th, the former Mayor of a neighboring town, Eldridge Hawkins, Jr. announced his candidacy for Mayor of West Orange, a nonpartisan election now changed from May to November of this year (2014).
Hawkins, son of civil rights attorney and former NJ State Assemblyman (D-Essex) Eldridge Hawkins, Sr., was raised in West Orange and returned to his home town of over 25 years after serving as mayor in a neighboring Community. There, he brought in over $100,000,000 in alternative funding sources and revenues to ease the tax burden on residents. Hawkins was able to stabilize taxes through creative management, cross training of employees and redevelopment, which broadened the tax base. In addition, his administration reduced crime by 22% according to the NJ State Police Crime Statistics Report.
Upon returning to West Orange, Hawkins was approached by residents to throw his hat into the mayoral race, which led to the formation of the “Eldridge Hawkins Exploratory Committee” co-chaired by businessman and developer Richard Groves as well as military veteran, former Edison School PTA president and law enforcement official Joe Sorbino.
According to spokesperson Richard Groves, the committee after months of due diligence, found that Hawkins, who in previous elections garnered the support of leaders such as Senator Richard Codey, Assemblyman Tom Giblin, Assembly

woman Sheila Oliver, County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo, Jr., Congressman Donald Payne, and a host of other elected officials, currently has encouraging local grass roots support and viability in his challenge against incumbent Mayor Robert Parisi, who is presently rumored not to be running for a second term.
Sorbino indicated that Hawkins, also a retired West Orange Police Officer, received several commendations for his service to the residents of West Orange and “knows how to keep our families safe from the current spikes in crime.
In addition to growing up and attending schools such as St Joseph’s, Redwood School and Seton Hall Prep here in West Orange, I am the former Mayor of a neighboring community. Knowing I had returned here to my home town some time ago with governmental experience, various residents expressed to me dissatisfaction with the high taxes, failed

redevelopment on Main Street and rise in crime under the current West Orange administration.

In an effort to get a broader sense of residents’ priorities and to better evaluate the potential campaign for Mayor, an exploratory committee was formed. That committee of residents spoke to many of their colleagues and neighbors.  The response was very favorable, indicating that the time for change is now.  I remain humbled and appreciative of the steady increase in support that we have received thus far.  With the back drop of my experience including both a track record of success and lessons learned, I am looking forward to sharing my unique vision for West Orange over the coming months as we approach the November 2014 Mayoral election.
After much thought and consideration, I have decided to answer the exploratory committee’s call to public service and fight for a better West Orange.  Accordingly, effective immediately, I am formally announcing my candidacy for Mayor of West Orange and ask for the support of all interested stakeholders in the upcoming November 2014 Mayoral election.

Eldridge Hawkins, Jr. presently serves as Director of Community Outreach for the New Jersey Department of State. Prior to assuming this statewide position, he served as the Mayor and two-term Chairman of the Democratic Committee in the City of Orange. Also a Realtor with Jordan Baris, Inc. and Chairman of the Board of Directors for the New Jersey Jaycees, Mr. Hawkins is CEO of Black Belt Security & Investigations, LLC and a Retired West Orange Police Officer.
He was elected as the Mayor of Orange on May 13, 2008 and served until July 1, 2012 after careers as a law enforcement professional and businessman. Hawkins ran on an ambitious agenda of plans to make Orange safer, stabilize property taxes, improve education for people of all ages, and assure the honesty and integrity of government.
While in office, he was appointed Chairman of the Management Reform Committee for the New Jersey League of Municipalities where he fought for systematic changes to make New Jersey government more efficient and protective of taxpayers.
Mayor Hawkins established Orange as a city on the move. His focus on law enforcement and his crackdown on street crime, gangs and drug dealers made citizens feel safer and resulted in a 22% decrease in crime according to the NJ State Police Crime Statistics. He jump-started the city’s stalled redevelopment plans, stepped up enforcement of health, safety and housing laws, began televising City Council meetings,  made it easier for citizens to communicate their concerns and get fast action from City Hall.
Named to “Cambridge Who’s Who Registry of Executives and Professionals 2007/08 Edition”, Eldridge Hawkins is the former President of the New Jersey Junior Chamber of Commerce (Jaycees) and the founder of the Orange-Essex Jaycees, which is the first of its kind in a New Jersey urban community. In 2009, he was selected as one of Ebony Magazine’s Outstanding Young American Leaders.  Eldridge Hawkins is a law enforcement professional who attended the Morris County Police and Fire Training Academy in Morristown, New Jersey obtaining his Police Training Commission Certification. He is a retired member of the West Orange Police Department where he was a decorated officer with three commendations as well as the Essex County Police Benevolent Association “Distinguished Service” award. As Mayor, he also received numerous awards for outstanding public service and governance from the NJ State Legislature. Eldridge Hawkins is a law enforcement professional who attended the Morris County Police and Fire Training Academy in Morristown, New Jersey obtaining his Police Training Commission Certification.
In the private sector, Eldridge Hawkins was named Vector Marketing’s “Number One Salesman” and ”Number One Assistant Manager”. He also served as the Director of Operations for the nonprofit, Carl Lewis Fund, Inc. placing inner city youths in corporate internships. Eldridge Hawkins attended the Professional School of Business, earning his Real-Estate License Prerequisite Certification. He became a New Jersey Licensed Realtor Associate for Jordan Baris, Inc. and manager his own real estate investments.
Raised in West Orange, Eldridge Hawkins graduated from Seton Hall Preparatory School and attended Rider University where he received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration. He has also earned a second undergraduate degree in Criminal Justice from Thomas Edison State College as well as his MBA at Seton Hall University in Management.
Eldridge is a member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. and a Master Mason. He is also a member of the Maplewood & Oranges Unit of the NAACP.
Hawkins is the son of former State Assemblyman Eldridge Hawkins Sr. (D-Essex) a prominent East Orange Civil Rights attorney and Linda Cofer-Hawkins, a business executive, public relations specialist/producer and community leader. His sister, Hillary Hawkins, is a singer, actress, songwriter, and playwright.

Please visit for more information and to join the campaign for change because together we can make a difference.  Interested parties may also call (973) 617-2606.

Posted by on Mar 14 2014. Filed under Community News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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