31st Legislative District Assembly candidate Kristen Zadroga Hart is feeling confident ahead of the June 6 Democratic primary election, exclaiming “damn the line” during a fundraiser at The Chandelier in Bayonne last night.
“So when I endorsed Kristen it was a no-brainer: Kristen is not only an educator, she is a woman who cares about her community. She’s a woman that takes time with at-risk youth, the same youth that I’m on the streets trying to save,” said Jersey City Ward A Council candidate Pamela Johnson.
Johnson, also the executive director of the Jersey City Anti-Violence Coalition Movement, and Hart traded endorsements for their upcoming elections last month. Both candidates are running as independents.
” … I believe that she is capable to bring forth legislation that is not only meant for Jersey City, but can do and make changes in Jersey City. Things that can move us forward as a city and the 31st District. And I think Kristen is the woman to do it,” she continued.
“So I tell everybody in my family and in my neighborhood: you vote for Kristen because she has Hart. And you gotta have some Hart, plus she has smarts.”
Ron Greco, the president of the Jersey City Education Association, was equally complimentary of Hart, a longtime operative for the JCEA, and also took a swipe at Mayor Steven Fulop.
While he hasn’t formally endorsed anyone in the Assembly race, Fulop has campaigned with incumbents Angela McKnight and Nick Chiaravalloti this week.
“Kristen is going to fight the fight. And it’s an uphill battle to go against the machine. It’s an uphill battle to go against a smart aleck mayor of Jersey City, and that he is. So, we’re gonna fight this because it proves a point: that there’s a whole vast majority of the unheard,” Greco said.
Greco also praised Hart’s efforts outside the classroom, participating in endeavors such as writing grants, putting turf on soccer fields and cleaning parks.
When it was time for Hart to take the podium, the room briefly took a somber tone as she recognized the sudden passing of her brother Rich, which occurred just 24 hours before her fundraiser.
“People were wondering am I gonna have tonight, am I gonna be able to come here tonight and speak and greet people. And my feeling is if I didn’t, my brother would be kicking my ass from heaven right now. So I’m here to fight my fight and fight what would be his fight,” Hart said.
” … People said ‘Kristen, you don’t have the line. You can’t win without the line.’ I say damn the line, it’s been done before, it will happen again,” she added, after noting that the pension and school funding, as well as curbing youth violence, are high on her priority list.
Dignitaries that attended the event included Jersey City Ward C Councilman Rich Boggiano, former Assemblyman and Jersey City mayoral candidate Charles Mainor and Hart’s running mate, Bayonne Board of Education Trustee Christopher Munoz.