ATLANTIC CITY — The independent and third-party candidates seeking to be the next mayor might not have the same name recognition, donations and campaign scope as the two major-party choices, but that doesn’t stop them from running.
Joseph Polillo, 70, isn’t new to the election process. The lifelong city resident has run for office several times since 1990.
This year, Polillo filed as an independent in a run for mayor. Henry “Hank” Green, 46, filed for his candidacy in June with the Green Party.
“People say they don’t think I can win,” Polillo said. “They’re wrong.”
The Nov. 7 election will bring out voters to choose the next mayor, along with three City Council members, state legislators and the next governor.
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Republican Mayor Don Guardian launched his re-election campaign in March, hoping to secure four more years in office. Democratic candidate Frank Gilliam announced his run for mayor in February.
Polillo, who is running under the campaign slogan “Polillo’s Last Stand,” originally toyed with the idea of challenging Guardian in the Republican primary but instead announced in April he would file as an independent.
His main priorities if elected mayor would be to push to end the state takeover of the city, which he says is unconstitutional, to address high taxes and to look for ways to bring tax breaks to residents, he said.
“You can’t have one legislative body take away the rights of our government officials,” he said. “I won’t stand for that.”
He referenced the abandoned homes in the city and cited the region as having one of the highest foreclosure rates in the nation.
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“You can’t keep running everybody out of their homes,” he said. “I would try to stop that.”
Polillo also said he’s opposed to the mayor-council form of government. If elected, he said, he would attempt to revert to a commission form, hoping to lower spending.
Polillo worked for 30 years in the Licensing and Inspections Office before retiring as chief mercantile license inspector.
He was the host of “The Postcard Show” with his brother, which ran on the South Jersey Regional Television Network in the 1990s, and he maintains the website and business.
“The city needs a mayor with action,” he said.
Green, 46, was born and raised in Atlantic City, lived and went to school in other states, but has been back since 2008.
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Green said as mayor he would focus on ending the state takeover, getting the city out of state control and trying to lower taxes.
“It’s very important that we try to figure a way to deal with (the taxes) situation,” he said.
As a father, Green said he would put a heavy focus on children and the communities, hoping to get more input from all neighborhoods in Atlantic City. He said he would like to bring in more programs for children, including in recreation, education and community service.
He said he would keep summer and recreation programs in mind that “expand outside of City Hall.”
“I figured in order to get in … I had to get involved in politics,” he said.
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Like Polillo, Green said he wants to see tax breaks for residents. Both candidates expressed the importance of home rule and having city employees live in the city.
Green said he would plan to challenge the state on every move that affects the city and would push for legislation in terms of “how things would trickle down to the community.”
Green serves as a co-host and producer on WOND radio’s Kevin Hall Show. He ran unsuccessfully for the school board and councilman-at-large in 2014.
He held several city positions within the Public Works Department, until he was terminated, which he says he is fighting. He has also been a substitute teacher.
“I represent the people. I come from the people,” he said at the mayoral debate Tuesday.