Ray “Ghostbuster” Collazo gains momentum

State legislative candidate boasts new endorsements
By T Martin

If the warm weather was supposed to relax the young candidate whose campaign to make the primaries against incumbent Bill Reiger for the 179th state legislative district, it’s not happening. In fact, since Spring arrived, the campaign of 29-year-old Rafael P. Collazo has gained momentum, garnering endorsements from the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), Salsa singer Frankie Negron and the Philadelphia Daily News.

The journey that started in freezing cold on the streets of North and Northeast Philadelphia is shaping nicely toward the April 27th primaries. Collazo has said that he was often told that he should give up because of his age or the chances of getting endorsements over the incumbent Reiger, who has done nothing for his constituency over the last two decades. Yet the tireless warrior and his dedicated crew of young supporters have skyrocketed his campaign to new heights.

Robert V. Eddis, President of the FOP Lodge #5, personally delivered the news of the FOP’s endorsement of Collazo on behalf of the 14,500 members of the organization at a press event on Wednesday, April 14th, at the Spanish American Law Enforcement Association (S.A.L.E.A.), located at 4537 N. Front Street.

“Our endorsements are made on a candidate’s honesty, sincerity and integrity,” Eddis stated as reasons behind the FOP’s endorsement. “It goes without saying that time, research and observation are part of the overall process when candidate’s are chosen.”

Salsa music recording artist Frankie Negron attended Collazo’s fundraiser event at Taste of Portugal Restaurant the following night and has remained supportive of the campaign, adding his own to the list of key endorsements the Collazo campaign has received already.

“I’m proud to be associated with the Collazo campaign because I know he will fight for the working families in our community,” he said.

And in The Philadelphia Daily News’ Tuesday, April 20th edition, “the People’s Paper” announced its endorsement of the candidate, following a series of Philadelphia Inquirer articles discounting Reiger’s competency to serve another term in office.

Collazo sees these recent endorsements as falling right into his top priorities of the campaign. From the start, safer neighborhoods have been a number one issue, and Collazo said the FOP endorsement as a key component in fighting crime.

“I have always seen the safety of our community as a partnership between law enforcement, public officials and members of the community,” Collazo said. “This endorsement is an example of how I will bring these groups together to make our neighborhoods a safer place to live.”

Speaking on the endorsement of Salsa superstar Frankie Negron, Collazo added, “Frankie Negron is a good friend who cares about our community. It is an honor to have his support because we share the same vision of prosperity for our community.”

The Daily News has called for Reiger to “stop representing a district he doesn’t call home” in their article in which they gave Collazo their “strong endorsement” in the Tuesday Democratic primary April 27th.

It’s all looking up… from the hard work that brought this campaign from just a thought last summer to major endorsements that could make Collazo the candidate to beat for the 179th state legislative district for 2004.