Steven Michael Fulop is the 49th and current Mayor of Jersey City, having won his historic third term in November 2021. A lifelong New Jerseyan, the son of Jewish Romanian immigrants, and Marine, Mayor Fulop served as the councilman representing Downtown for eight years before becoming Mayor in 2013.
Answers to these questions were taken from our interview with Mayor Fulop in November 2021. Watch the full interview below:
1. Why do you think Jersey City is so great?
It’s an amazing community with lots of different pockets of diversity, different constituencies and immigrants coming from all over the world. It’s a city with a lot of history that people are proud of in a really important geographic area in the world. You put all those things together and it creates a really special and dynamic city that we’re privileged to be living in.
2. Looking back, what is your best memory here in Jersey City?
The majority of my adult life has been here in Jersey City. I proposed to my wife here, my kids took their first steps here, and my wife has grown her business here. I feel like I’ve grown up personally here in Jersey City as my life has changed very much in the public. The memories are countless. On a personal front, I’m not going anywhere soon. This is going to be my home until I die, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to live here.
3. As Mayor, what are your goals for Jersey City?
The two biggest priorities are the inclusionary zoning ordinance, which we hope to introduce in the council agenda in December. That’s number one, and that’s going to set aside a significant amount of affordable housing to make sure the city remains affordable for the citizens that are here. We’ve come to a good agreement with Fair Share Housing on a model ordinance that will be introduced in December. The second part is really improving the schools and working closely with the Board of Education, making sure that they’re using their resources properly and trying to control the tax increases they’ve levied on the regular residences in the last couple of years.
4. What inspired you to reach the position of Mayor?
At that point [when deciding to run for Mayor], I had been on the council for two terms, so I had a pretty good perspective on the legislative process, what I liked, what I didn’t like, what I thought could do better. We figured the next step for how to really move the city forward was to steer some of those big initiatives, so I decided to run for mayor, won in an upset, and I’ve been here since then.
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 don’t know if the title is the most important thing. You ultimately want to continue to have a diverse community here that has a lot of different communities living together, which embodies a lot of things this country was founded on. The title is nice recognition, of course, for that, but whether the city is number one or number three or number five, as it fluctuates it’s less relevant than the fact that we have this really, really great, dynamic city with all these immigrant communities here. Over the years, it’s changed where it’s no longer maybe the Polish, Irish, and Italian immigrants coming here, and now it’s more South American communities or communities from the Middle East. Nevertheless, the core backbone of the immigrant community is still part of Jersey City today. It’s important because people want to live in a city that offers a lot of different things, from creative to food to job opportunities, and a more diverse city obviously represents and offers more of those things.
6. What is your favorite place in Jersey City to eat?
Oh, that’s a bad question for me because there’s one winner and lots of losers when I say that. We spend a lot of time on Newark Avenue. Obviously, we have a great history with the Indian-American community here so we spend a lot of time there, we’re very proud of that. And then some of the restaurants down here [around City Hall] we frequent. I’m at the Latham House for brunch every Sunday it seems like. I feel like it’s the best brunch in Jersey City. We like Kitchen Step; the list goes on and on. There are some great restaurants in the Heights now as well close to where I live – Bread & Salt is there… The point is, you’re seeing more and more great restaurants opening in different neighborhoods, which is good.
Check Out Mayor Fulop At The Grand Opening Of Berry Lane Skatepark