Outgoing Assemblyman Carmelo Garcia (D-33), a top adversary of Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer, kicked off his 6th Ward council campaign against Zimmer ally Jen Giattino at Church Square Park last night.
After Kristine Allen, the President of the Act Now Foundation, John Lynch, the Sergeant-at-Arms of the Jersey City Democratic Organization and Hoboken Freeholder (D-5)/City Democratic Committee Chairman Anthony Romano spoke in favor or Garcia, the lifelong Hobokenite took the microphone.
He recounted a time from his youth when the landlord of the apartment building his family lived in lit the complex on fire – leaving them homeless – stating that it was then he decided public office was his calling.
After asking for more transparency and accountability in city hall, Garcia spoke one-on-one with Hudson County View to elaborate on his candidacy.
Garcia exclusively told Hudson County View in March that he would “focus on the local city council races,” rather than seek re-election off the line for the District 33 Assembly seat.
Win or lose in the council race, Garcia will be replaced by the Hudson County Democratic Organization’s pick of Annette Chaparro in the Assembly.
Additionally, the campaign kickoff takes place almost exactly one year after Garcia was fired as the executive director of the city’s housing authority.
While no formal reason was ever publicly released as to why he was voted out by the board, he had previously faced internal scrutiny over the agency’s procurement policy.
Garcia called the termination “retaliatory” and “political” and still has an ongoing lawsuit stemming from the matter.
Other officials in attendance included 3rd Ward Councilman Mike Russo, former Council President Chris Campos and ex-Assemblyman Ruben Ramos, who is running against Garcia enemy Dana Wefer – the chairwoman of the Hoboken Housing Authority – in the 4th ward.
Afterwards, at a fundraiser at Mikie Squared Bar & Grill on 616 Washington St., officials such as Assemblywoman Maria Rodriguez-Gregg (R-8) and City School Board Trustee Peter Biancamano made an appearance.