Hudson County Commissioner Bill O’Dea (D-2) indicated that while he’s looking for “a crushing victory” from Column A on November 7th, he also mentioned that “the future is 2025” in Jersey City, acknowledging an all but certain run for mayor.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
“We’ll have a crushing victory, and then, after that, we’ll march on to the future: the future is 2025 and soon we’ll be able to make a formal announcement about it. But make no mistake about it: everyday we’re working, not only for November, but for 2025,” he said at the Liberty House restaurant, telling the crowd of about 300 supporters that the goal is to have 1,000 volunteers.
“You’re all part of our family and families stand together. We have relationships. We’re gonna make those relationships and build those relationships stronger. For now, we’re gonna elect our team with a great win margin, Column A … and then after that, we get one week rest, and then we’ll start on the next election.”
Former Ward B Councilman Khemraj “Chico” Ramchal served as the emcee for the short program, which included some fiery speeches from Assemblyman William Sampson (D-31) and Hudson County Register Jeff Dublin.
Dublin worked O’Dea’s first election back in 1985, where he was elected to the Jersey City Ward B council seat at 26 years old. He recounted that they’ve remained close friends for four decades and intimated that he’d be an excellent choice to represent the whole city.
“Bill O’Dea is Jersey City! Bill O’Dea helps people in Jersey City! Bill O’Dea loves Jersey City! So we couldn’t have a better candidate for Jersey City than Bill O’Dea!” Dublin exclaimed.
” … We look forward to doing whatever we have to do for you in November, and if anything in the crystal ball says anything beyond that: We’re there. We’re gonna be there because Jersey City deserves somebody that works hard and Bill O’Dea works hard for the people of Jersey City! Let’s get ready to rumbbllleee!”
O’Dea is unopposed in November, but a few commissioners and legislators do have Republican challengers.
After additional remarks from Hudson County Building Trades President Pat Kelleher and Hudson County Sheriff Frank Schillari, who both praised O’Dea’s leadership over the years, the commissioner said he’s always been about relationship building, not transactional politics.
“There are transactional politicians, and we know them, they come here, we don’t see them, they want something, they tell us whatever we want to hear, and then we don’t seem them again. And sometimes we don’t see them for 20 years. They just disappear and then they come back again.”
For the moment, O’Dea is among a handful of candidates thought to be contenders to succeed Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop, who is running for governor in 2025 and is currently the only declared candidates.
While there aren’t any official candidates for mayor yet, Council President Joyce Watterman, Ward E Councilman James Solomon, and former Gov. Jim McGreevey are all expected to join O’Dea, as of now, in what most expect to be a crowded field.
McGreevey already has the support of nine out of 12 Hudson County mayors (with the current exceptions being Hoboken’s Ravi Bhalla, Kearny’s Peter Santana, and Fulop) and is all but assured to be the candidate backed by the Hudson County Democratic Organization.
Nonetheless, O’Dea didn’t sound like someone who was thinking about backing down, later recognizing a number of school officials in the room: Superintendent of Schools Dr. Norma Fernandez, Board of Education President Natalia Ioffe, BOE Vice President Noemi Velazquez, and Jersey City Education Association President Ron Greco.
He also endorsed this year’s iteration of the “Education Matters” slate, which consists of Police Det. Dejon Morris, Alpa Patel, and Dr. George P. Blount, and also vowed to work to build a bridge between the city and the school district.
“One of the biggest problems in Jersey City for the last several years is the city points a finger at the school board and the school board points a finger at the city,” O’Dea began.
“But what we need to do, and what I’m gonna continue to work to do, is we’re gonna join arms together and we’re gonna go to Trenton together – we’ve got a fighter like Will Sampson and we’ve got other fighters – we’re gonna get our money back!”
He also said that Jersey City needs to make sure that the school district is allocated the millions of dollars they are owed annually through the payroll tax.
Other dignitaries in attendance included 31st District Assembly nominee Barbara Stamato, who is also the Jersey City Democratic Organization chair, Bayonne Council members Neil Carroll, Jacqueline Weimmer, and Loyad Booker, Jersey City Councilwomen Mira Prinz-Arey and Amy DeGise, as well as Jersey City Young Democrats President Cory Garriga and former Jersey City Ward B Councilman Phil Kenny, among many others.