Jersey City attorney and preservationist John J. Hallanan III was sworn in as the newest Ward B representative of the city council, replacing Khemraj “Chico” Ramchal.
“I was approached by some people from [Freeholder] Bill O’Dea’s camp, I think just to gauge my interest, the mayor’s office as well – around the same time. You know when you’re asked, it’s hard to say no,” Hallanan explained inside the council chambers.
“If you live in a city for a whole life, as I have, labored for it as I have as a community activist as long as I have, and you’re asked to step up to a leadership position, it’s very hard to refuse.”
Hallanan said he steps up to the dais “with a heavy heart” since he enjoyed working for the city’s law department, but he feels that experience is ultimately what made the administration feel he was the best selection for the job.
Hallanan was heavily rumored to be on then-Councilman Steven Fulop’s ticket, as he sought the mayor’s seat, in 2013 as the Ward B candidate, though Ramchal ended up being the man selected and winning in definitive fashion.
Hudson County View asked Hallanan what had changed between now and then.
“Well, I had expressed a willingness to serve in 2013, but I think it was the understanding of everyone that probably Councilman Ramchal was the better fit at that time. I would’ve served if they’d asked me then, but I understood that they had a reason to feel at the time that Councilman Ramchal was a better fit.”
When asked what his top priorities are as councilman, Hallanan said he plans to focus on quality of life issues such as clean and safe streets, as well as making it a point to reach out and listen to his constituents.
“The thing about being a ward councilperson, and the great thing about municipal government service, is that it’s non-ideological. It’s about getting things done. It’s about making sure the streets are clean, the garbage is picked up, people feel safe when they walk outside your door. These are quality of life issues,” he said.
” … I am ecstatic to be in this position. Ecstatic to be able to serve and I’m looking forward to hitting the ground running tomorrow and reaching out to some of those constituent groups I had mentioned. And taking my message, and their needs, to the voters in November and seeing where that takes me.”
Hallanan was appointed by a vote of 7-1, with only Ward D Councilman Michael Yun voting no, stating he had no issues with the candidate, but said the council should’ve had more involvement in the process. He was sworn in by Fulop.