Jersey City educator Kristen Zadroga Hart has announced she’ll be entering the Ward A council race six days prior to the filing deadline, vowing to be an independent voice that prioritizes vocational and recreational training, addressing crime and violence, and much more.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
“I am excited to announce my candidacy for Jersey City Council to represent Ward A. As a lifelong resident and dedicated educator in Jersey City for 28 years, I know the opportunities and challenges facing families on the south side of town. I am running to represent the will of the people, not the wishes of a chosen few,” she said in a statement.
“If elected, I will prioritize our youth by expanding vocational training and recreational opportunities in the city. I will fight for infrastructure improvements so our streets don’t flood with every storm. I will advocate for common-sense improvements to provide more reliable public transportation options and the widening of Route 440 before adding thousands of new units to our ward.”
The McNair Academic High School athletics supervisor, Hart has recently been outspoken about the Jersey City Municipal Utilities Authority repealing and refunding their solid waste fee, commonly referred to as the “water tax.”
The council unanimously approved (9-0) a non-binding resolution asking the MUA to do so last week, at a meeting where Hart spoke in favor of the measure.
She teased her candidacy in a tweet last Monday, expressing disappointment at not being reappointed to the Jersey City Employment and Training Program board. Mayor Steven Fulop had appointed her to the volunteer post in August 2019.
“I just found out I was booted from the JCETP board where I’ve served as a board member for 2 years, helping get it back on track. You serve at the pleasure of the mayor/council & I guess they felt my time is up. Looks like I’ll have some time on my hands between now and Nov. 2…,” she wrote.
On the issue of violent crime, she cites community programs, social services, and job training/employment opportunities as ways to get ahead of it, as well as pushing for quality affordable housing.
“I also recognize that our seniors, children and families need to feel safe in their neighborhoods,” Hart began.
“I will address crime and violence with innovative community programs, job training and employment opportunities, family support, social services and affordable high quality housing to build safe and flourishing neighborhoods. As a councilperson, I will work at the local level to unite stakeholders to improve the quality of life in Jersey City.”
This will be the second time Hart will be on the ballot after unsuccessfully challenging for a state Assembly seat in the 31st Legislative District in an off the bid effort in 2017.
If that race was any indication, her candidacy will see major support from the Jersey City Education Association and the New Jersey Education Association.
“As an educator, a mentor, a coach, a former union leader, parent of three and wife of a Jersey City firefighter, I know that every hardworking family deserves a representative who will fight for them. I will bring a strong record of advocacy for public education, public safety, and infrastructure improvements to City Hall,” she concluded.
Fellow lifelong Jersey City resident Pedro Figueroa announced his candidacy in May, as HCV first reported.
He and Hart will both competed to unseat incumbent Denise Ridley, who is again running on Fulop’s ticket.
The non-partisan Jersey City municipal elections are on November 2nd and Ward A candidates will need 294 valid signatures by August 30th at 4 p.m., according to the city clerk’s office, which should be a breeze with e-signatures possible.
The clerk’s office also said that Jerard Shannon and Amber West had also picked up petitions for Ward A, though had not returned any yet.
Editor’s note: This story was updated with new information from the Jersey City Clerk’s Office.