Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto, Assemblywoman Angelica Jimenez (both D-32) and West New York Mayor Felix Roque were just a few of the local dignitaries who came out to support the Guttenberg mayor and council on Thursday night.
“Yes, we are next to each other, but Gerry, I’m here because I love you man: you’re a good man, I really mean that,” Roque told Guttenberg Mayor Gerald Drasheff during a fundraiser at Rumba Cubana on Boulevard East.
“I thank my commissioners for being here, we’re like a big family, we work hand in hand. When I need something, whether it’s [road] salt, what I need, you’re there. Police officers, you’re there, you’re always there.”
Jimenez, a graduate of West New York’s St. Joseph of the Palisades High School (like Drasheff), said it’s an honor to be a part of the Guttenberg family – which falls into legislative district 32.
“He’s got the ties in West New York, I became a part of Guttenberg, which was a great honor for me, he’s got an incredible ticket and I’m really happy [Councilman} Wayne [Zitt] is also on his ticket, it makes me even happier to serve on the Assembly.”
Zitt also serves as Jimenez’s chief of staff. He was appointed to the council back in January and will be running unopposed on November 8.
Prieto, also the Guttenberg construction official, called it “a labor or love” to be a part of the small North Hudson town’s family.
“Guttenberg’s municipal government does a great job to make sure that the quality of life for the residents – because ultimately that is the intent of all of us – to make your life better and a better quality of life,” stated Prieto.
“And I couldn’t be happier to be a part of the family, I serve as the [construction] code official, so I have my hands in town and it’s like a family.”
Drasheff kept things short and sweet, noting that the camaraderie in North Hudson is refreshing.
“Up in the North Hudson area, we work very, very closely together with our neighbors. You kind of lose track after a while of where the borders are. If there are police problems, we get support from North Bergen, we get support from West New York. And it goes on constantly. We share with the fire service,” Drasheff explained.
“I’m very fortunate to have served on the council with people for many, many years, now Wayne’s kind of the newcomer and I’m very happy to hear he’s running unopposed.”
Zitt, who was jokingly blamed for the venues balmy temperature throughout the evening, briefly took the podium upon a request from Drasheff, thanking everyone for their support.
“I’m flattered by everything that has been said and one main thing I love about being in this position is the team that everyone has praised here. I’m only on here … almost a year now and working with these individuals on the council and the mayor has just been incredible.”
Political operative Joey Muniz served as the emcee for the evening.
Other officials in attendance included Guttenberg council members John Habermann, Alfonso “Al” Caso, Monica Fundora and Donna Florio, West New York Commissioners Cosmo Cirillo, Gabriel Rodriguez, Sue Colacurcio and Margarita Guzman, Freeholders Anthony Romano (D-5) and Anthony Vainieri (D-8), former West New York Mayor Sal Vega – among many others.