Gov. Phil Murphy (D) swore in former Congressman Albio Sires as mayor of West New York shortly after a reorganization meeting officially returned him to his old municipal post that he held between 1995 and 2006.
By Daniel Ulloa/Hudson County View
West New York Mayor Gabriel Rodriguez, Sires’ godson, choose not to seek another term in favor of running for state Assembly in the 33rd Legislative District with the Hudson County Democratic Organization’s blessing.
“West New York is our home. You care about it, you love it, and that’s why you’re here. It has been my pleasure to serve as your mayor for the last four years. Years that haven’t been easy. Some of those years were very difficult,” he began.
“I am excited for the following four years because I know the work we have done will continue,” he added.
Weehawken Mayor Richard Turner, who has served as Sires’ right hand for decades, served as emcee for the afternoon.
“It’s good to be back in West New York. The last time I was here campaigning for Albio and his team, it was raining cats and dogs,” Murphy noted, referencing his late endorsement of the Sires team.
New Jersey Democratic State Committee Chair LeRoy Jones also lent his support to the five-person slate at that event.
Murphy noted it was state Senator (D-33)/Union City Mayor Brian Stack’s birthday and gave an impromptu rendition of “happy birthday,” which the crowd also participated in.
“West New York’s favorite son has returned. We were proud to have Albio representing us on Capitol Hill. But we’re so glad to have him back home. I’m thrilled to have him as a partner here,” Murphy explained.
“He’ll build on the progress we made under Mayor Gabe Rodriguez … and he’ll take West New York to an even greater height. He’s made history in the process as our state’s first Latino Assembly speaker. Albio came here as a child; his family forced to flee Cuba. When he arrived, he had to adjust to a whole new life and language.”
He credited Sires with helping pass an infrastructure bill that will fund the Gateway Tunnel and the Portal Bridge projects.
“We can be certain Albio’s team can provide steady leadership,” the governor added.
“I am eternally grateful to the governor. I know how strongly he feels about education. I know the kind of job that he did, guiding New Jersey through COVID,” Sires said.
“But he has never forgotten the little people. And we are the little people of West New York.”
He noted 94 percent of West New York students are Hispanic and thanked Murphy for his support on building a new school at 65th and Broadway.
“The school you are going to help build will help a lot of those children in this community … This is where I grew up. This is where I played ball on the streets. This is where I went to school,” Sires added.
“This is a team that is going to work for all of us, for all of West New York,” he said about his recent commissioner running mates.
Stack congratulated the Sires team on their victory, as he did on election night, before swearing in Adam Parkinson, a former longtime board of education president.
“It could not be a more humbling honor to have been elected along with this mayor and board of commissioners,” he said.
In Spanish, he thanked his grandparents for the sacrifices they had made so that he could be here today.
“This administration will be a place for everyone who calls West New York home,” Parkinson added. He will serve as the commissioner of Revenue and Finance.
Hudson County Commissioner Caridad Rodriguez (D-7) then swore in Victor Barrera, who will retain his post as Parks and Public Property commissioner.
“It is a terrific day in West New York, isn’t it?” she said to applause.
“It is a true blessing to have Albio back as Mayor of West New York. We’re going to stick together and serve this town of West New York to the best of our ability.”
Marielka Diaz, another BOE trustee until recently, was then sworn in by Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise’s chief of staff, Craig Guy, who he is running to replace. She will be the town’s Public Affairs commissioner.
“Thank you Mayor Albio Sires, for giving me the opportunity and trusting me, a little girl that came from the Dominican Republic not too long ago to be now sitting with the Board of Commissioners of the town of West New York,” Diaz said.
Marcos Arroyo was sworn in by his son Marcos Arroyo, Jr. who is an NJ State Police sergeant. He will serve as the Department of Public Works commissioner.
“West New York is happy to have its home boy back, Albio Sires. We did it in the past and we’re going to do it in the front. We’re coming back stronger than ever.”
The Sires team staved off a challenge led by outgoing Public Affairs Commissioner Cosmo Cirillo last week, securing a roughly 61-39 victory.