Pedro Figueroa, a lifelong Jersey City resident who works as an operations manager at a private security company, is the first throw his hat in the ring to challenge Ward A Councilwoman Denise Ridley.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
“I filed because I think it’s important that every elected faces opposition: people need to see different points of view. I think Denise has done a great job, so it’s nothing against her, but I just don’t think any official should go unopposed,” Figueroa, who filed his A-1 form with the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission on May 19th, told HCV.
“People are starting to call our council rubber stampers and I think really need to see a change to see how someone not on the mayor’s ticket would approach a certain situation … I think it’s important that someone not on a party line give a different point of view.”
Furthermore, the 34-year-old first time candidate, who served with Ridley on the city’s Public Safety Advisory Board back when she was a committeewoman, says that living on Rose Avenue near Triangle Park has given him first-hand experience at gun violence in the ward.
“It feels like every time there’s a shooting I’m somehow effected: three years ago my car was shot, my neighbor’s house was shot two times during one incident last year,” Figueroa recalled.
“I’ve witnessed gun violence first hand on several occasions. I can see things at a ground level because I’m right in the middle of it. I think more needs to be done and sit down with all stakeholders in the community.”
Figueroa acknowledged that everyone running on Mayor Steven Fulop’s slate will have a big fundraising advantage, with a combined $1.7 million cash on hand after the first quarter of 2021, but also says a strong message with a sound game plan can still be effective.
“If you spread the right message, you can still get followers and donations to come: it’s also not about how much you raise it’s about how you spend it,” he added.
With the non-partisan November 2nd municipal elections just over five months away, it now appears that nine of the 10 seats up for grabs will be contested.
Joel Brooks is challenging Prinz-Arey in Ward B, both Kevin Bing and Tom Zuppa are looking to unseat Councilman Rich Boggiano in Ward C, Danielle Freire is seeking to defeat Yousef Saleh in Ward D, Ward E Councilman James Solomon will square off with Chief Municipal Prosecutor Jake Hudnut, and Frank “Educational” Gilmore will take on Councilman Jermaine Robinson in Ward F.
Additionally, Council President Joyce Watterman and Daniel Rivera are running on Mayor Steven Fulop’s ticket, along with Hudson County Democratic Organization Chair Amy DeGise, at-large.
They currently face two opponents in Elvin Dominici and Chris Gadsden, a former Ward B councilman.
And while he hasn’t had anything to say about his potential candidacy since filing with NJ ELEC, author and youth mentor Lewis Spears appears poised to take on Fulop.