Astoria, NY.- By Apostolos Zoupaniotis
Bill Matsikoudis, a lawyer who served for the Governor’s Office and for eight years former Mayor Jerramiah Healy, is running for Jersey City mayor in the November 8 elections, against sitting Mayor Steve Fulop.
The 46 year-old Greek American spoke during a fundraising event organized by his supporters at the “Stathakeion Center”, in Astoria. Many prominent members of the community attended the event. Nomiki Kastana presented Bill Matsikoudis to the audience.
Speaking in Greek, Matsikoudis said that his late father Elpidofors was born in Thessaloniki in 1918 and he fought the Italians at the Albanian front, in 1940. He later immigrated to the United States and he worked hard to raise a family.
“He taught me to be proud of me Hellenic heritage”, Bill Matsikoudis said.
He thanked the members of the Community for their support.
«Powerful Greeks but also regular have supported my campaign. Especially inside Jersey City, the people that hear Matsikoudis and know that a Greek is running, they are filled with pride and the support that they are giving me has been amazing”.
Approximately 1,000 Greek Americans live in Jersey City, a town of 260,000 people. There are two Greek Orthodox parishes – St. Demetrios and Annunciation – and many Greek American businesses.
The Greek American candidate explained that he is running for mayor of Jersey City because of his deep love for the city and his will to make it a better place; because the current leadership hasn’t done a good job.
Presenting himself to the audience, he said that his father that died when he was 16 years old has taught him the value of hard work. Since the age of 16 he was working in restaurants and worked his way through Law School.
That led him to the conclusion that public service and doing something for the greater good is the thing that gives you the most in life. At the age of 30 he left one of the most prominent law firms to go to public service. He worked at the Attorney General’s office, at the Governor’s office and for 8 years at Jersey City’s chief attorney.
“During that time we did some great things. We sued polluters; we cleaned-up contaminated sides to make them parks and development and brought money into the City.”
Matsikoudis promises “to make Jersey City safer, more affordable, and more beautiful and the truly world-class city that we know it can be.”
“Many parts of the city are still stagnating, with no economic development and a serious crime rate. During the current mayor’s tenure crime rate doubled in four years.”.
Matsikoudis started the campaign a year ago. Now his campaign has over three hundred volunteers and two offices in the city. He campaign raised 500,000 dollars without any institutional support.
He expressed confidence about his chances and he called for all Greek Americans to support him.
“I can only promise you that we will work day and night the remaining period, hoping to make you all proud with the result.”
The Hellenic Federation president Petros Galatoulas called on the Greek American Community to express its support for Matsikoudis, because we need more Greek American elected officials and public servants. He cited Astoria as an example of how with hard work and struggle, all three elected officials of the area are Greek Americans.