Hoboken Councilwoman Fisher elected new Democratic committee chair

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Hoboken 2nd Ward Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher was elected the city’s new Democratic committee chair, with Mayor Dawn Zimmer, her chief of staff Vijay Chaudhuri and Assemblywoman Annette Chaparro (D-33) being named honorary chairs of the HDC.

Fisher, who was elected to the city council in November 2015, succeeds Freeholder Anthony Romano (D-5), who was elected as committee chair at a chaotic meeting two years ago.

Zimmer backed 67 candidates for 80 seats in last week’s primary election and came away with a whopping 63 seats.

Worth noting is that these committee members ran on the Hudson County Democratic Organization line with gubernatorial hopeful Phil Murphy, state Senator Brian Stack (D-33), also the Union City mayor), Chaparro and Romano.

This roughly hour-long meeting was much more tame with few surprises or controversial moments as the HDC elected their executive board.

“According to our bylaws, which everyone should have a copy of by now, we have an opportunity to have an executive committee of six people or eight people. I think eight people is better because I’m a big believer because more voices are better,” she said at the Hoboken Bar and Grill last night.

Phil Cohen, Nora Martinez DeBenedetto and Mitch Fagen will serve as the 1st, 2nd and 3rd vice chairs, respectively, while Paul Kuehn was selected as treasurer and Kurt Gardiner takes over as sergeant-at-arms.

Rounding out the eight-person executive board is Rachel Hodes as recording secretary and LaTrenda Ross (who was not present) as corresponding secretary.

The only mildly tense exchange of the meeting came when Ines Garcia-Keim, a former vice chair of the HDC, opposed Chaudhuri being named as an honorary chair since he is not a committee member or local elected official.

“I have a point of order that I’d like to air: honorary members, in article 1, section 4 honorary members. It says the following elected, Democratic members of the City of Hoboken shall be honorary members of the committee with all the rights of membership, accepting the right to vote, unless otherwise provided by the committee’s bylaws,” she began.

“The Democratic, national and state Hudson County committee could be women, chairpersons of all standing, as defined in the article [being read] and all Democratic elected officials in Hudson County,” claiming that Chaudhuri did not fit the criteria.

Fisher expectedly disagreed with Garcia-Keim’s interpretation of the bylaws.

“The bylaws are clear,” Garcia-Keim said.

“No, the bylaws [you cited] are different than an honorary chair. An honorary member is just people who can go to the meetings, period. That just says your an honorary member, you’re just non-voting. Those are the kind of people that are allowed to enter,” responded Fisher.

“There isn’t anything explicit anything explicit about who can be named an honorary chair.”

Garcia-Keim said she planned on reading up on the honorary chair appointment process further and Fisher stated she would be happy to revisit the matter at a later date.

Speaking with Hudson County View after the meeting concluded, Fisher recalled her experiences with the committee, or lack thereof, before listing some key goals she hopes to accomplish.

“Everyone has come together for a different reason. Some people are really focused locally on honest elections and doing what we can to minimize of eliminate voter fraud that happens in Hoboken and there’s some other people that are really just gunning and focused on the mid-term elections,” she explained.

“As we look across the state and see a number of Republican seats maybe are at risk, what can we do as a committee to help go out and elect a Democrat in those seats.”