Jersey City Board of Education Trustee Amy DeGise made history last night by becoming the first woman to lead the Hudson County Democratic Organization, handing state Senator (D-33)/Union City Mayor Brian Stack a shocking defeat in the process.Â
While Stack had a signature rally outside Kearny High School for at least an hour prior to the vote, DeGise calmly greeted committee members and political allies before the meeting was called to order at 7 p.m.
Even though Stack had the aid of at least 24 provisional ballots, DeGise won by 92 votes: 452 to 360.
While voter turnout was very good overall (812 out of 900), DeGise enjoyed very strong support in Bayonne, North Bergen, West Hudson, Guttenberg, Secaucus and also made an impact in her home city, Jersey City – despite Mayor Steven Fulop backing Stack.
During her victory speech, she called for unifying the party and getting the vote out for U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) in November.
“He [Stack] inspired me to do something that I did not think that I could do and I was only able to do it because of all of your support: I owe you for that. I owe you working, active committees. Committees that you will work on your community goals with,” DeGise said.
” … We need to rally together for Bob Menendez in November.Â We will do that as a big, strong, united county. And remember what that translates to in Trenton: a loud Hudson County and that’s what we need to be.”
Additionally, while a handful to a dozen committee members objected to some of the nominations, the rest of the executive committee was still decided last night:
Felix Henriquez is now the vice chair, Craig Guy, County Executive Tom DeGise’s chief of staff, will serve as treasurer, Kearny Mayor Al Santos takes over as recording secretary, and West New York Revenue and Finance Commissioner Gabriel Rodriguez is the new corresponding secretary.
While a few people remained dissatisfied, DeGise assured the dissenting voices that she plans on expanding the executive committee in the near future so that all 12 municipalities are represented.
Afterwards, DeGise doubled down on several promises she made on the campaign trail, also reacting to becoming the first woman to chair the HCDO.
“I ran on a platform to bring the committee people up to a larger table, and a much louder table, with me to serve not just as a chairwoman, but as their leader, mentor and motivator and to be … at the constant forefront of all the government processes,” she told HCV.
” … I try to be an example of what it means to put yourself out there and be bold: whether you win or lose you should always be proud of yourself. As a female, I think that we should really try to recognize that we are underrepresented in this arena, especially in Hudson County: we have a lot of strong-minded, smart females – we need to bring them up.”
In addition to Fulop, Stack had the support of Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla and West New York Mayor Felix Roque, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the other eight municipalities: brought together largely by state Senator (D-32)/North Bergen Mayor Nick Sacco and U.S. Rep. Albio Sires.
Stack, who was unsuccessful in making a substantial dent in the West New York Democratic Committee last week, was not immediately available for comment, but was gracious in defeat when speaking with InsiderNJÂ last night.
Despite many signs pointing to the contrary before yesterday evening’s vote, it now appears that the civil war between the Hudson Dems will come to a screeching halt since Stack said he would not get involved with an effort to replace Amy’s father, Tom DeGise, next year.
Stack was poised to walk into the chairmanship early this year, but that quickly changed when he and Fulop inexplicably decided to publicly announce they would not back the county executive for re-election in March.