Former West New York Mayor Felix Roque, who served in the post between 2011 and 2019, made his fourth bid for office official last night, also unveiling two of his running mates for the May 9th non-partisan municipal elections.
“We all know what’s been happening the last four years in West New York and the reality is we haven’t seen nothing. And like people were saying in there, they haven’t seen the mayor, the mayor hasn’t done anything,” Roque said of his successor, Gabriel Rodriguez.
“And now there’s gotta be a change and I’m ready to make that change.”
While Rodriguez and his “New Beginnings West New York” slate, backed by then-Congressman Albio Sires, defeated Roque in 2019, the pain management specialist and retired U.S. Army colonel is giving it another go this spring.
He continued that the crime in West New York has been out of control under Rodriguez, with both the youth and elders in town seeing their quality of life compromised due to drug dealers, which is why he scoffed at Sires’ calls for a new media center, library, and school.
“Listen, you cannot build a new school without having good security in the town and I’m a military man: the first thing you do in the army is you set up a perimeter,” Roque explained.
“And that’s what I need to do: bring more police, more protection – not only for the schools, you know the drug dealers are out there trying to poison our children with all this synthetic fentanyl and all these drugs. You know are seniors are exposed daily.”
On his running mates, Roque noted that Carmen Baez was born in the Dominican Republic, has been in this country for 26 years, and is a real estate professional.
Tommy Mannion is a longtime resident who is the former president of the West New York Policeman’s Benevolent Association and his candidacy has been expected, telling HCV at a courtesy breakfast last month that he would likely be running on Roque’s ticket.
The town’s former top elected official said that Mannion will help bolster his efforts to improve public safety, also indicating that there were clean streets, low crime, and stable taxes during his tenure at Town Hall.
While Roque didn’t get the result he wanted in 2019, he said the reason this time around would be different is simple.
” … For the last four years, whose been running the show in West New York? The answer is Albio Sires. So if he hasn’t done anything in four years, you’re telling me he’s gonna do other things in the next couple of of years? The answer is no.”
Roque now makes the race a three-way dance, with Public Affairs Commissioner Cosmo Cirillo, who ran alongside him in 2015, announcing last month and since unveiling three of his four running mates.
Although they’ll be facing off this time around, Roque said he didn’t have a bad thing to say about Cirillo and wished him the best of luck.