Councilwoman Denise Ridley
Greenville (Ward A)
Elected in 2017, Denise Ridley is a lifelong resident of Jersey City and has been actively involved in service organizations, community concerns and outreach programs.
1. Why do you think Jersey City is so great?
Actually, what I think is great is exactly what you’re trying to embody with Everything Jersey City and that’s the people. I feel the people of Jersey City are very unique. Of course, we’re diverse as everyone knows, but there’s a certain spirit that people of Jersey City have that you don’t really find in other places and I think that the people are really what makes Jersey City great.
2. Looking back, what is your best memory here in Jersey City?
I really enjoyed the Martin Luther King Parade that occurred each year in the City. It was an opportunity to see people you have not seen in a while because the parade seemed to bring everyone in the neighborhood to Martin Luther King Drive each year. We looked forward to our favorite bands and performers from both in and out of state. There was fun for the entire family.
3. As a Councilperson, what are your goals for Jersey City?
My top goals are to usher in this new wave of development in Ward A responsibly and without displacement of current residents, to increase communication and teamwork between local government and residents, and to make sure that the changes that occur while I am in office are beneficial to the next generation.
4. What inspired you to reach the position of a Councilperson?
I have always been interested in politics. I was on student council throughout my school years. The first political campaign I worked on was Gore 2000. From there I worked on campaigns for Delegates in Virginia while in undergrad. I’ve also assisted with campaigns locally in Jersey City. I ran for Committeewoman in 2013 and have held the Ward A District 32 Committeewoman seat since that time. My decision to run for Ward A Councilperson in 2017 was a result of many years of being involved in the political process and watching the changes that took place in Jersey City. With the support of family, friends, and residents, it was a successful campaign.
5. What do you feel are the benefits of Jersey City being rated the number one most diverse city in the United States this year?
I think that it definitely shines a light on us. I think that it makes us more attractive especially to the younger generation and people who are just starting to move out on their own, get into the workforce, because you want to be somewhere where you feel comfortable, and when a place is diverse, then you feel a little more comfortable moving there because you know there’s somebody like you.
There’s going to be somebody there like you, you’re not necessarily an outlier or even if you walk into a room where you might be the outlier, people have seen someone like you before. It makes you a little more comfortable. Knowing that this is such a diverse place, I think it adds a little more comfort to people that are thinking about coming here.
6. What is your favorite place in Jersey City to eat?
My go-to for, “I don’t know what I want to eat tonight,” or when I just want something good, is this little Dominican place on Linden and Ocean Avenue called Karina’s. I think they have really great food, I get the rice and peas and oxtails.