New Beginnings West New York, the five-person slate looking to unseat Mayor Felix Roque headed by Public Safety Commissioner Gabriel Rodriguez, officially launched their campaign last night with major support from the Hudson County Democratic Organization.
“My one dream was become the mayor of West New York and it never happened,” joked state Senator (D-32)/North Bergen Mayor Nick Sacco, an alumnus of Memorial High School. “But thank God we’re moving in the right direction to bring back sanity.”
The presence of Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise, North Bergen Commissioner Julio Marenco, Board of Chosen Freeholder Chair Anthony Vainieri (D-8), Guttenberg Mayor Wayne Zitt and Weehawken Mayor Richard Turner all made it quite clear that the NBWNY team was the establishment pick for the May 14th election.
“One of my initiatives has been keeping this community engaged with their elected officials and it has been so easy in this section, so easy in North Hudson, because you guys have winning teams all over here,” added HCDO Chair Amy DeGise.
U.S. Rep. Albio Sires (D-8) reminded the crowd of around just under 300 people that he vowed to unseat Roque back in June and it went without changing that he hasn’t changed his tune.
“Come to West New York and it’s stagnant: it was never like this before,” began Sires, a former West New York mayor.
“It was never like this. We actually were the ones who spearheaded a lot of the development on the waterfront and a lot of things with the schools that we did, fix the parks and everything else and I want to get back to this before.”
In addition to Commissioners Cosmo Cirillo and Margarita Guzman, the NBWNY team is rounded out by two first-time candidates: Yoleisy Yanez and Victor Barrera.
“I’m humbled, I’m fortunate, I’m blessed to be working with this great team, I’m very lucky, and we’re ready to move West New York in a positive direction,” Yanez said.
“I just want to tell you: I’m committed to the seniors in this Town of West New York, [I] always have been committed to them because that’s what my job on this earth is for and that’s what God gave me to serve the seniors in all classes,” added Barrera.
Additionally, Cirillo expressed excitement about running alongside “an outstanding team of individuals” as West New York is at a crossroads where voters will decide what the future holds.
Rodriguez was the last speaker during the hour-long program and said that it’s time to move on from the Roque administration after two terms.
“We have tried working with this mayor and there comes a point where you have to make a decision because you know that that person does not have the commitment, despite what he may say,” he explained.
“And I know what he says: he’s got all the money for this campaign, but we bring the change,” Rodriguez said to applause.
Roque is no stranger to raging against the machine: he ran without any establishment support in 2011 and managed to unseat Sal Vega in a highly competitive race.
After making amends with the HCDO, Roque, running with Rodriguez, Cirillo, Guzman and Susan Colacurcio, defeated a ticket headed by Count Wiley in 2015.
The mayor has yet to announce his slate for May but has said many times previously that he would be seeking re-election.
Other dignitaries in attendance included Assemblywoman Angelica Jimenez (D-32), West New York Board of Education President Adam Parkinson, Trustees Jonathan Castaneda (who served as the emcee), David Morel, Joseph Rodriguez and Adrienne Sires, Superintendent of School Clara Brito Herrera and former Mayor Sal Vega, among many others.