Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop hosted a well-attended fundraiser for the Education Matters board of education slate, which has the backing of the local teachers’ union, at the Zeppelin Hall Biergarten last night.
Jersey City Education Association President Ron Greco kicked off the program by stating Fulop “has gotten behind the JCEA” since day 1.
” … Who would’ve thought, four years ago, I’d be down here with the mayor?,” joked Greco. “This mayor, in all seriousness, has, since day 1, has gotten behind the JCEA, has helped me personally, has helped the teachers [and] has helped the public schools in Jersey City.”
Fulop, an expected Democratic gubernatorial candidate, referred to Greco as the best labor, union and education leader in the state, adding that he’s proud to support Sudhan Thomas, Angel Valentin and Gina Verdibello for the Jersey City BOE.
“We recognize, on my side, that making sure Jersey City moves forward is intertwined with education and making sure that we have the best representatives to advocate for teachers, for students, for parents, for great schools,” Fulop exclaimed.
“And I know that we have that today with Angel, with Sudhan and with Gina. And we couldn’t be more excited about that.”
After Fulop spoke, the three BOE hopefuls all took a few moments to address the crowd.
“Folks, the time has come to make a choice in Jersey City. We have two contrasting ideas of how to manage our public schools: Angel, Gina and I stand for one set of ideas that we believe has made our nation the greatest nation in the world,” said Sudhan Thomas.
“The idea that preserves, protects and gives an opportunity to every child, from Greenville to Lafayette. From Journal Square to Jersey City Heights. From the West Side to the waterfront communities.”
Angel Valentin, who previously served on the board for over the decade, expressed his desire to finally get full local control back from the state for the first time since 1989: something that can be facilitated by having a dialogue with whoever the next governor is.
Finally, Gina Verdibello, a longtime education advocate, said “I care about all the schools in this district,” which is why she attends just about every public BOE meeting in Jersey City and sometimes even goes to Trenton to attend education hearings.
The Education Matters team explained their goals in detail during a sit-down interview with Hudson County View earlier this month.
The laundry list of politicos in attendance included Freeholders Kenny Kopacz (D-1), Bill O’Dea and Anthony Romano (D-5), Assemblywoman Angela McKnight (D-31), Assemblyman Raj Mukherji (D-33), Jersey City Democratic Organization Chair Shawn “Sully” Thomas-Sullivan, West New York BOE Trustees Adam Parkinson and Jonathan Castaneda, former Freeholder Jeff Dublin, ex-Bayonne councilman and BOE member Ray Greaves, former Jersey City councilmen Phil Kenny and Khemraj “Chico” Ramchal, campaign operatives Tommy Bertoli, Pat Desmond and Phil Swibinski – among many more.