West New York Mayor Felix Roque faces a tough test at the polls tomorrow when voters will select 58 Democratic committee members, but if he’s sweating it, you’d never know from his cool, calm and collected demeanor.
“To me it’s not a battle, because I’m very good at battling, it’s more like a skirmish. And what I’m seeing is that we all have to stick together and get our [U.S.] Senator elected again,” Roque said after the ribbon cutting for the new 9 on the Hudson waterfront project.
“And right now, we’re not focusing on that: we’re all focusing on fighting each other and that’s not the right thing to do. We all need to work together and I am so happy the other day seeing now Sal Vega joining with Albio [Sires]. I need them to work together and let’s all embrace each other.”
As Hudson County View exclusively reported, Vega, a former freeholder, mayor and Assemblyman, and Sires, a congressman who handed off his assembly and mayor’s seats to Vega, made amends to stave off a challenge from Roque and state Senator (D-33)/Union City Mayor Brian Stack.
Both North Hudson mainstays said that they decided it was time to put the past behind for the sake of the greater good: bettering the Hudson County Democratic Organization and moving West New York forward.
While there is an outside chance Vega would be willing to work with Roque somewhere down the line, Sires is more than likely a different story: in March, he declared that he would work to oust Roque and is headlining a fundraiser for an eventual opposition slate on Thursday.
After Roque suggested it was time for Sires to retire and play golf, Sires was succinct in his response to HCV on Friday: “I have no plans to retire, gracefully or not.”
Despite those facts, Roque refused to get into a sparring match with Sires, crediting him for his work in developing the waterfront, making luxury condominiums like 9 on the Hudson possible, also noting “we care about the same things” such as keeping taxes stable and streets paved.
“We have brought a lot of dignity and respect to this town: and that’s what this is all about. Working together to make this town better than what it was and I gotta say a lot of thanks to Albio because he was part of this – and even Sal Vega.”
Roque, who had the behind the scenes support of Sires back when he challenged Vega in 2011, created friction with the congressman and state Senator (D-32)/North Bergen Mayor Nick Sacco when he supported Stack and Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop in calling for a new county executive.
Sacco expressed some of his frustration with Roque, who has backed Sacco nemesis Larry Wainstein, saying his chances of getting re-elected next year “are very, very slim” in an interview with HCV last week.
But again, Roque took a hands off approach rather than punching back.
“I always had a lot of respect for Senator and Mayor Sacco – he actually got me married and by the way I just got divorced – but, look all I can say is [I’ve got] a lot of respect,” the mayor recalled.
“But the county is moving in a new direction and there’s a change. We have to adapt to the change and that’s why I’m endorsing my friend and state Senator Brian Stack because I really believe he’s part of the change and nothing against anybody, really.”