Get the inside scoop on everything Hoboken and Jersey City before everyone else.

No thanks, I've already signed up!

  • Hoboken Mayoral Race 2017: Candidates on Infrastructure + State Politics

    Elections are decided by those that show up to vote, and we at Hoboken Girl want to make sure that you have everything you need to do just that. Now that we’ve told you how to register to vote and introduced you to the candidates for Mayor, it’s time to give you some information about how each candidate will address the pressing issues facing Hoboken and its residents in their own unedited, unbiased answers — literally listed by candidate in alphabetical order by last name. Our new political series will continue to cover issues that Hoboken residents are concerned about, and this week we asked the six candidates running for Mayor of Hoboken to talk a bit about how they plan to address Hoboken’s infrastructure issues {we’ve all been down Washington St, so we know the issues are a-plenty}.

    Talking about street repairs and water mains may not be the sexiest, but these things impact our every day lives — from our morning shower to our commute to work to our nightly run along the water, Hoboken’s new Mayor will be helping to ensure our city is running in tip top shape.

    That also means working with other levels of government including Hudson County, the State of New Jersey, and the Federal Government. We asked each candidate how they plan to work with these other levels of government, how they see National politics playing a role, and how they plan to work with whoever the new Governor of New Jersey will be {you know, that OTHER major election happening next month}.

    If you have more questions, send those over to us! And check out the candidates’ campaign websites and social media pages to learn more.

    A few things to note before we introduce the candidates:

    • The answers from the candidates have not been altered in any way — which includes grammatical errors {hey – the Oxford comma is a very divisive topic}. We just asked that they keep their answers under 200 words per question.
    • Each week, we’ll share another set of questions as well as provide ALL of the candidates’ answers to the same question so you can compare and learn about their views.
    • Hoboken mayoral elections are non-partisan, meaning parties are not affiliated to national platforms. We still included this item in our questions to candidates for informational purposes.
    • If you have further questions to ask candidates, get in touch! Email hello@hobokengirl.com and we may send out a supplemental questionnaire.
    • To register to vote locally and learn about other important election deadlines, click here.

    Now, without further ado, here are the six Hoboken mayoral candidates running for office in the 2017 Hoboken mayoral election and their answers to this week’s two questions:


    Ronald Bautista

    Name:

    Ron Bautista

    Political Party Affiliation:

    Democrat

    Years Living in Hoboken:

    18 years

    Current Profession/Career Background:

    I manage social media strategies and provide advice on multicultural marketing for a health insurance company in New York City. I’ve been an advisor on transit solutions, have led projects for clients like the NY State Government and started my career as an Executive Director of a NY nonprofit.

    Tell us a little bit of how you plan to deal with Hoboken’s aging infrastructure. What improvements do you hope to make? How do you plan on effectively managing repairs?

    Our streets are the priority of our campaign when it comes to infrastructure; from flood prevention to keeping streets paved and designing them for better mobility and safety. There’s a big disconnect between our city government and the people, and we need to get more people on board with what’s in the pipeline of projects and where we’re heading in terms of our infrastructure. We’re a city of innovators, home of one of the best engineering schools in the country, and we’ll work on bringing the community together to support our engineers and their expertise in solving Hoboken’s infrastructure challenges.

    We will have a new governor in office in November: how do you plan to work with him/her on local and state issues? How do you see National politics playing a role? How do you plan on working with National or State agencies to advance local issues?

    I’ve been living in Hoboken for the past 18 years, and it took me 11 of those years to finally get my green card. You can say I’m one of the lucky ones, since most people don’t even get the opportunity I did. I am now a US citizen, proud to say I’m a former undocumented immigrant, running for mayor of Hoboken. All politics are local and it takes all of us at the city level to defend and empower our diverse communities, especially the Dreamers from the DACA program that the Trump administration is putting an end to. I’m confident that we will be able to work together with the new governor of New Jersey in making it perfectly clear that an injustice for one is an injustice for all, and that the fight for immigrant rights is the same fight for women’s rights, LGBTQ rights, and civil rights. Just how we legalized a woman’s right to vote, abolished segregation and brought marriage equality, we can stand together with our immigrant brothers and sisters for the right to live in America, a country built by immigrants.

    Ravinder Bhalla

    Name:

    Ravi Bhalla

    Political Party Affiliation:

    Democrat

    Years Living in Hoboken:

    17 years

    Current Profession/Career Background:

    Attorney

    Tell us a little bit of how you plan to deal with Hoboken’s aging infrastructure. What improvements do you hope to make? How do you plan on effectively managing repairs?

    I want to be Hoboken’s “infrastructure Mayor”.  In order to upgrade our roads, water mains, sidewalks and piers, I will develop a detailed 10 year infrastructure improvement and maintenance plan to be completed in my first three months in office.  This will actively address problems in a comprehensive manner so we are replacing water mains and repaving our roads, for example, at the same time. We’ll also actively address our inadequate contract with SUEZ so we are receiving more proactive investments in replacing aging water mains, resulting in less reactive repairs, to reduce the amount of water main breaks.

    I’ll also prioritize upgrading our flooding infrastructure through underground detention systems under our parks, two new flood pumps, upgrading our sewer system, and expanding green infrastructure projects.  This also involves strengthening our electrical grid so we are better prepared to withstand the intense storms predicted because of climate change.  Finally, I’ll push NJ Transit and the Port Authority to upgrade our mass transit infrastructure and expand our bus and rail service, as well as more affordable ferry service.

    We will have a new governor in office in November: how do you plan to work with him/her on local and state issues? How do you see National politics playing a role? How do you plan on working with National or State agencies to advance local issues?

    As Councilman and Council President, I have experience working with elected and appointed officials at the state and national level to get needed approvals and secure funding for projects that benefit Hoboken. For example, I have worked in partnership with Mayor Zimmer on advancing Rebuild by Design, the federally-funded $230 million comprehensive flooding and storm protection initiative.  I will make sure to stay in close communication with the next Governor and with the federal and state agencies that are most important to Hoboken. At the same time, I will not hesitate to stand up for our values and our city if they are threatened by President Trump.

    Michael DeFusco

    Name:

    Michael DeFusco

    Political Party Affiliation:

    Democrat

    Years Living in Hoboken:

    13 years

    Current Profession/Career Background:

    Executive at a Fortune 500 Media Corporation

    Tell us a little bit of how you plan to deal with Hoboken’s aging infrastructure. What improvements do you hope to make? How do you plan on effectively managing repairs?

    Addressing both our road and water infrastructure is vital to our city’s future. We need to stop kicking the can down the road and make the investments that are necessary to stop the endless stream of water main breaks that endanger our homes and flood our streets, and we also need to prioritize fixing our streets so we can reduce traffic congestion and improve pedestrian safety. All of these are important priorities, but they have been left unaddressed for two reasons — lack of political courage and cost. We can address the first problem by bringing new leadership to city hall, but the second problem demands a more creative solution. My proposal would be to pursue more public-private partnerships to incentivize private actors to invest in our infrastructure and require new developments to pay into a dedicated infrastructure repair fund.

    We will have a new governor in office in November: how do you plan to work with him/her on local and state issues? How do you see National politics playing a role? How do you plan on working with National or State agencies to advance local issues?

    I believe that improving our city’s relationships on the state and county levels would certainly have a positive impact on our city by giving us an opportunity to have access to additional resources. We should be working more closely with Hudson County to ensure that our tax burden is re-examined and to make sure we are receiving the best possible county services, especially on road infrastructure, recreation facilities and community investment. At the same time, I believe that we must also keep our eye on national politics and stand ready to support our people against unjust, regressive policies like deportation raids.

    Jennifer Giattino

    Name:

    Jennifer Giattino

    Political Party Affiliation:

    Republican

    Years Living in Hoboken:

    20 years

    Current Profession/Career Background:

    Real Estate Agent (mostly friends and family)

    Tell us a little bit of how you plan to deal with Hoboken’s aging infrastructure. What improvements do you hope to make? How do you plan on effectively managing repairs?

    We need a programmatic approach to upgrading our water systems.  I pushed our administration to work with Suez to create a 10 year upgrade plan.  Based upon this plan, I also advocated to allocate the $10 million earmarked to be spent on highest priority upgrades in 2017 and 2018.  We know we have continued, not-yet-defined concerns that need to be met both operationally and financially.  I pledge to complete the assessment and implement a plan to address all of the highest risk areas, and to identify other sources of funding – like developer contributions – for these repairs other than current taxpayers taking on the entire burden.  I believe we need a city engineer to oversee large projects like this, Washington Street and the many other infrastructure upgrades we face who look to minimize disruption to residents.  In terms of flooding and our CSO, I will continue to support Mayor Zimmer’s Rebuild By Design project including the resiliency structures within our parks.  I will work with the NHSA to add at least one more pump and to also consider opportunities where it is feasible for us to separate out our storm water and sewerage pipes.

    We will have a new governor in office in November: how do you plan to work with him/her on local and state issues? How do you see National politics playing a role? How do you plan on working with National or State agencies to advance local issues?

    I have proven over the past six years my ability to collaborate with anyone and everyone who can help make Hoboken better. This has been especially true on the council where I have worked closely with allies and effectively with former foes.  To accomplish Hoboken’s vital goals it is essential that we work closely with state and federal officials. There is every likelihood that the leaders of those two bodies will be of opposite parties so no mayor will be able to rely just on their party affiliation.  The ability to work with anyone – even of another party – will be tested and I am confident that under my leadership Hoboken will pass the test. The notion that party is a better indicator of how you will perform in office rather than your record and your public life is just silly.  As examples, Mayor Zimmer and I each supported eachothers’ candidacies – twice, she worked exceedingly closely with Republican Governor Chris Christie and Councilman Bhalla publicly contemplated endorsing him as well. 

    Karen Nason

    Political Party Affiliation:

    Republican

    Years Living in Hoboken:

    Approximately 7 years

    Current Profession/Career Background:

    Owner Operator of Hoboken Hothouse/Hothouse Pizza 200 Monroe Street Hoboken

    Tell us a little bit of how you plan to deal with Hoboken’s aging infrastructure. What improvements do you hope to make? How do you plan on effectively managing repairs?

    This is an area of expertise that needs to be considered by engineering experts that I would work with to implement a plan that is best for the public.  I would want the current contracts to be reviewed by attorneys, whose expertise is in dealing with contracts for construction.  These individuals should be familiar with projects pertaining to water mains and road reconstruction so as to fix the water mains first before new roads are completed over the crumbling infrastructure.

    We will have a new governor in office in November: how do you plan to work with him/her on local and state issues? How do you see National politics playing a role? How do you plan on working with National or State agencies to advance local issues?

    I have maintained a great relationship with both Phil Murphy and Kim Gudagno. I am positive that whoever wins this race I would be able to work with on many issues.  Some of the issues I have put into videos on my NasonforMayor.com web site. For example,  the “Rise of the Night Mayor” is a position created to become a watch guard for the “Nightlife” that needs to be protected.  Also, I have reached out to Susan Collins’ office in Portland, Maine and Phil Murphy and Lt. Kim Gudagno for help in the video “Each One Teach One” that I have created dealing with the homeless crisis and taking the homeless shelter from the Charter School to an empty building or warehouse that can become a vocational school to teach them a trade for jobs that are no longer wanted by so many of our youth today.  It could be state subsidized and create jobs for the shelters that so many of today’s workforce no longer want to do.  The programs for schools that have been cut on local and state levels, especially Music, would be a big part of my curriculum as Mayor.  Any parent knows taking away a child’s music is worse than taking away their phone.  Again, so much more to discuss which I will save for the debate.

    Anthony Romano

    Name:

    Anthony L. Romano

    Political Party Affiliation:

    Democrat

    Years Living in Hoboken:

    My entire life.

    Current Profession/Career Background:

    Freeholder, Hudson County Board of Chosen Freeholders
    Retired Police Captain, Hoboken Police Department
    Previous Hoboken Board of Education Member
    Retired Teacher, Hoboken Public Schools

    Tell us a little bit of how you plan to deal with Hoboken’s aging infrastructure. What improvements do you hope to make? How do you plan on effectively managing repairs?

    This is a huge problem for the city. We need to dramatically cut down on water main breaks and our highest priority is to create a funding plan to upgrade our entire system. At the same time, we need to identify a water company that can give us the best deal possible for our citizens, and it must include money for repairs that are equivalent to actual repair costs. We also need to focus on the flooding issue. The current administration proposed adding four drain pumps, and only two were installed.

    One of my first actions is to add the remaining two. My next step is to convene a working group of professionals (engineers, architects, etc.) to develop a robust plan, including a maintenance plan, for the city council to review and approve. This will take a team to solve the problem.

    We will have a new governor in office in November: how do you plan to work with him/her on local and state issues? How do you see National politics playing a role? How do you plan on working with National or State agencies to advance local issues?

    I will absolutely work with the future Governor in any way that will benefit the citizens of Hoboken. I have experience working well with all levels of government—state, county, local— so, this is not something that I will have to learn on the job.

    On the national front, we have several public policies to watch closely. We have the ACA and Medicaid, the heroin/opioid crisis, clean energy, school choice, and several other social issues. Clearly, these issues all trickle down to the state and the local levels and it will be incumbent on us to navigate through these policies. I also want to work closely with the state to identify grant opportunities that can subsidize infrastructure improvement costs.


    And that, friends, is round TWO of our guide to the Hoboken mayoral election. Stay tuned for next week, when all of the candidates share their thoughts on two other important questions that affect our city: one being parking {obviously}.

    CLICK HERE TO READ OUR INTRO TO THE CANDIDATES FROM LAST WEEK

    Have questions about our election series or want to submit your own Q for the candidates? Please email hello@hobokengirl.com or comment on this blog post.

    As Jane Gooddall said, “The greatest danger to our future is apathy.”

    Register to vote for the local Hoboken and NJ elections here.

     


    Written by:

    Jen is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of HobokenGirl.com. She started the site 5 years ago to discover the wealth of fun things happening in Hoboken and Jersey City and surrounding Hudson County areas. When not planning the next Hoboken Girl event or #HobokenGirlHelps volunteer project, she can usually be found shopping at local Hoboken + Jersey City boutiques, eating an Insta-worthy meal, walking her French bulldog Pierre, or watching some really bad {but oh-so-good} reality TV and ordering takeout with her husband.


    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    Copyright © 2017 HobokenGirl.com