The Candidates for the Upcoming 2021 Jersey City Election
With this week holding local elections, politically minded Jersey City residents may want to learn more about the candidates who are looking to take part in running this great city. Let’s get to know a little about the people running and what sort of views and platforms they plan to offer JC citizens in this 2021 Jersey City Election.
Steve Fulop: The current mayor who has been in that position for eight years, Steve Fulop won his first run for mayor with the highest margin in in over 60 years. He is a former marine and son of Jewish immigrants who has made ethics, as well as progressive and humanitarian causes important in his time as mayor. Some of his accomplishments include starting the Citi Bike Program, raising minimum wage in JC to $15 an hour, mandating paid sick leave, and work to revitalize many impoverished and struggling parts of the city.
Lewis Spears: Educator, community organizer, youth mentor, author, next, mayor of Jersey City? Lewis Spears is a young mayoral candidate challenging Steve Fulop this November. Spears’ platform is “STAY”—Safety, Training and Education, Accessibility, Affordability, and Yours. The tenets of this involve community safety meetings with the community and police, a Youth Advisory Board, making the Inclusionary Zone Ordinance stronger, and fostering better communication and trust between citizens, law enforcement and administration.
Council President/at Large:
Joyce Watterman: A lifelong resident of Jersey City, Joyce Watterman is the current council president and the first African-American woman to hold that position. She is a founding pastor of Continuous Flow Christian Center and is passionate and loves the diversity of JC. Ms. Watterman’s work includes empowering local women and making sure we still have affordable housing in the city, particularly for long-time residents.
Daniel Rivera: Another lifelong JC Resident, Councilman Rivera is a veteran who served in the Marines along with Mayor Fulop. Along with supporting many progressive platforms such as sick leave and $15 minimum wage, he has worked with thousands of young people in Jersey City as a Little League Coach and believes in the importance of engaging and connecting with our youth, so they become successful.
Rolando Lavarro: Councilman Lavarro is the first Asian-American to serve on the JC Council who spent many years working with World Education Services, which helps immigrants and foreign students transition to the United States’ education system. His platforms include improving the struggling JC public schools, reducing crime, and making sure we have affordable housing in the city.
Amy DeGise: Ms. DeGise is not only a lifelong JC resident but due to her aunt and father’s involvement, spent much of her life growing up around its politics. She’s currently Chairwoman of the Hudson County Democratic Organization and is a public school teacher, who holds progressive values such as those focused on racial equality and immigration.
Elvin Dominici: Previous Councilman for Ward D, Mr. Dominici worked his way up to being a respected politician and Custody Middle Office as a Senior Associate in JP Morgan Chase after immigrating to the US from the Dominican Republic as a young man and taking ESL courses at Hudson County Community College. His platform focuses on overturning the “Inclusionary Zoning Law”, having no tax abatement unless it guarantees affordable units for the 30% annual medium income families, to audit the effectiveness of current PILOT payments, and having open lines of communication with JC residents.
Chris Gadsden: Previous Councilperson, Mr. Gadsden is an educator in Jersey City public schools as well as the North Jersey Chapter of National Action Network, Progressive Leadership Opportunities for Tomorrow (P.L.O.T), the Jersey City Chapter of the NAACP. Some of his platforms include focus on homelessness and affordable housing, protecting Liberty State Park, police reform, and improving public schools.
June Jones: Ms. Jones is a first-time candidate who is a retired respiratory specialist and the founder of the Morris Canal Community Development Corporation. Her platform is heavily focused on keeping and creating affordable housing for JC and not increasing the cost of living for its working-class residents. She believes there must be more focus on the residents’ needs and wants rather than the administrative agenda.
Denise Ridley: Current Councilwoman Ridley is a Renaissance Woman with experience in many fields including in pharmaceutical companies, as a realtor, as well as job analysis, talent management, training development, and executive coaching. She believes in an inclusive approach to government and has organized community outreach events such as coat drives, food distributions, and prison outreach.
Kristen Zadroga-Hart: A last minute candidate in the election, Ms. Zadroga-Hart is a Jersey City educator of almost three decades. She hopes to expand vocational training and recreational opportunities as well as community programs and family support to prevent crime, improve local infrastructure, create affordable housing, and improve public transportation.
Mira Prinz-Arey: The current Councilwoman Prinz-Arey is a trustee of the Westside Community Alliance and co-founded WSCA’s farmer’s market. She has put focus on decreasing crime by increasing police presence and as one of the original members of Keep Jersey City Beautiful, cares very much about preserving the beauty and cleanliness of our public parks.
Joel Brooks: A proud Democratic Socialist and labor organizer, Mr. Brooks is a Jewish, Honduran immigrant who is running a fully grassroots campaign. Some of his platforms include a Green New Deal for JC, housing justice for all residents, improving public schools and public safety, as well as improving healthcare, increasing minimum wage to $25 an hour, and better public transportation.
Richard Boggiano: The current Councilman for Ward C is a veteran of the Maines, Jersey City Police Department and longtime President of the Hilltop Neighborhood Organization, and more. A strong defender of the neighborhood Councilman Boggiano has spent most of his life connecting with the diverse communities of JC, and recently has worked on trying to keep taxes under control, increasing police presence in Journal Square and limiting the AirB&B rentals.
Kevin Bing: Small business owner, former Bike JC member board member and President of the Journal Square Community Association, Mr. Bing is an advocate for change. He is a candidate focused on things such as improving public transportation and reducing road accidents, increasing affordable housing and promoting small business and helping the city recover from the effects of the Pandemic.
Tom Zuppa: Fourth generation Jersey City resident, former Hudson County Prosecutor, President of the Friends of the Five Corners Library, and founder of the Block by Block Community Initiative, Mr. Zuppa is highly invested in quality of life in JC. His platforms include improving the revitalization of Journal Square, promoting affordable housing and ending homelessness, keeping the city clean, making sure Ward C’s residents have easy access to medical care and more.
Yousef Saleh: Appointed to the city council in the spring of 2020 following the tragic covid death of Councilman Yun, Councilman Saleh is a lifelong JC resident and proud son of Palestinian immigrants. An employee of JP Morgan Chase who has previously worked with the Jersey City Law Department, Saleh has been involved in many community groups and been committed to helping Jersey City residents cope with the uncertainty of the pandemic.
Danielle Friere: Development director for Building Equity & Alignment for Impact, Danielle Friere is a challenger committed to having a fully grassroots campaign. Her platform includes support for improved education with focus on civics, equity and inclusion for people with disabilities, expanded social services to prevent crime and arrests, renewable energy and more housing options for the people of Jersey City.
John Salierno: A local attorney who focuses on cases involving tenant and landlord conflict, Salinero is an independent candidate committed to raising civic consciousness and getting people more involved. He is putting focus on making the Heights more desirable, without becoming more expensive and chasing out the working-class locals, as well as making JC overall a better place to call home.
James Solomon: Current councilman and professor at multiple local universities Councilman Solomon is a man of progressive values who has previously worked on campaigns for Hilary Clinton and Barack Obama. His platform involves more affordable housing, improving local public schools and making our streets safer for cyclists and pedestrians, not just motorists.
Jake Hudnut: Jersey City’s chief municipal prosecutor and chair of the Quality of Life Taskforce, Jake Hudnut would be the first LGBT+ council member if elected. Hudnut is passionate about criminal justice reform and 21st century policing, which emphasizes community engagement and problem solving to reduce crime. His platform also includes fiscal responsibility, improving public schools and creating more affordable housing.
Jermaine Robinson: Councilman Robinson is a local small business owner whose family has been in JC for three generations. He has been involved in the creation of 500 more affordable housing units such as Whitlock Mills, as well as more public parks. Along with those accomplishments he’s had numerous awards from groups such as the NAACP.
Frank Gilmore: Frank “Educational” Gilmore is another lifelong Jersey City resident running for council. After a troubled childhood and young adulthood that involved many run-ins with the law, Gilmore turned his life around to make a difference in the world. His campaign will focus on issues such as affordable housing, funding recreation for youth, public safety initiatives and budget and tax reform.
Vernon Richardson: Son of Jersey City turned into radio personality and press secretary for such important people as the mayor of NYC, Maxine Waters and the Congressional Black Caucus. The focus of his campaign include affordable housing, street safety and transportation, small business and economic development and public safety and police reform.
Where To Vote
Voting for the 2021 Jersey City election will be available at the usual polling locations. The polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Specific polling locations can be found on sample ballots for the Jersey City election, but can also be found here.