West New York Stability 2019, the group committed to ousting Mayor Felix Roque next year, held their first formal fundraiser for the cause at Social 59 last night.
“[We have] the most exciting, inspiring, energetic individuals here tonight because of Tuesday of this week. We showed West New York, we showed the county and we showed the state what West New York’s all about,” said Board of Education Trustee Jonathan Castaneda.
“This had been unimaginable, right?,” Freeholder Caridad Rodriguez (D-7) added to considerable applause.
While Roque’s Democratic committee slate had the backing of state Senator (D-33)/Union City Mayor Brian Stack, they only managed to win one contested district (two seats) out of 50 (the WNYDC has 58 total seats).
Assemblywoman Angelica Jimenez (D-32) in particular took a lot of joy in seeing Stack come up way short in her hometown.
“There’s a senator to our south and he tried to get into Guttenberg at one time and I fought him off and he disappeared. Now, that senator wanted to get back into West New York: listen, we’re all West New Yorkers – we want to keep it that way – and this is what this is all about,” she said.
Receiving a very warm reception from the 200 plus people in attendance, with many chanting his name before his speech, West New York Public Affairs Commissioner Cosmo Cirillo stayed humble in victory.
“I’m so thankful to each and every one of you because that’s what this night was all about: it’s about each and every one of you and the residents of West New York and making a positive difference here in town,” he said.
“Tuesday, the residents of West New York spoke loud and clear: they voted for change!”
Fellow Commissioners Margarita Guzman and Gabriel Rodriguez also relished in the big win.
“I have a question: what happened on Tuesday? I think the people need, want and deserve a change,” Guzman exclaimed.
“It’s easy to celebrate a party. What is not easy is what we did on Tuesday. If you don’t know that, let me reiterate it: [Tuesday] was not an easy win guys, but we pulled it off under pressure, under negativity, and most importantly, we did it together,” Rodriguez stated.
Cirillo, Jimenez and Rodriguez have all been rumored to head the anti-Roque ticket in 2019, though the group made no commitments to their future plans at the event.
Roque and Department of Public Works Commissioner Sue Colacurcio saw the tides change quickly and significantly back in March after Roque went with Stack and Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop in calling for a new county executive.
All those in attendance, including the three other commissioners, support having Tom DeGise back for another term.
Meanwhile, his daughter, Jersey City Board of Education Trustee Amy DeGise, faces off with Stack on Tuesday when county committee members will vote for the next chair of the Hudson County Democratic Organization.
While she still faces a stiff test in the hard-working North Hudson power broker, the extra boost in West New York certainly didn’t hurt her chances of winning.
“There are still parts of Hudson County that could learn a thing or two from West New York: your sense of family and community is undeniable. And there are parts of Hudson County that could learn a lot from what you guys did on Tuesday,” stated Amy DeGise.
Other dignitaries in attendance included Assemblyman Pedro Mejia (D-32), Guttenberg Mayor Wayne Zitt, Guttenberg Council members John Habermann, Monica Fundora and Richard Delafuente, West New York Commissioner Margarita Guzman, former West New York Mayor Sal Vega, ex-Freeholder Jose Munoz, former Superintendent of Schools John Fauta, ex-West New York Commissioners Alberto Rodriguez and Michelle Lopez, among many others.