1. What about your background makes you a good County Commissioner?
I’m a Public Policy student at NYU Wagner. I chose to study Public Policy because we need creative and tangible solutions to improve the quality of life in Hudson County. When I was interning with Councilman Rolando Lavarro, I spent hours going over ordinances and resolutions that the City would bring to the City Council, going through the budget to see what we were spending money on and where that money would be coming from. As a County Commissioner, I would use the same approach of meticulously going over what we would be passing, how we could be allocating the county budget, and using my office to advocate for programs that benefit residents of the county not just the residents of my district.
2. How does your background inform how you approach your job?
I’m an organizer by heart, meaning I always put the needs of the people over the needs of the few. I studied Political Science and I’m studying Public Policy because I want to find ways where we can improve the quality of life of Jersey City residents and pass meaningful policy. I think my background in progressive politics whether it was taking courses or working with candidates who want the very best for Jersey City could help me bring best practices back to Hudson County to make sure we have the strongest representatives advocating and representing our districts.
3. You’re running as a progressive. What makes you one?
I am running as a progressive. There are values that are important to me that I won’t allow to be broken in this race. I refuse to take money from anyone who thinks they can buy my vote or buy my silence on any issue that affects the residents of Hudson County. I refuse to kiss any rings to benefit my political career. I am an organizer that wants to do good for the people that call Hudson County home, not to gain the blessing of the political machine to move on up in higher office out of loyalty. Being a progressive means that I will always use my voice and platform to call out anything that’s unethical in city and county politics and that any power that I have is to make sure I use it to empower everyone not just a select few.
4. Can you tell us about specific causes you’ve worked on in Jersey City?
I interned with City Councilman-At-Large Rolando Lavarro from August 2020 to Oct 2021. I was a major part of the People Over Profits campaign that circulated the petition to increase the requirement for more affordable housing in the Inclusionary Zoning Ordinance. I canvassed neighborhoods across the city, talking to people about what happened with the IZO that was passed back in Oct 2020 and what we were hoping to accomplish with the petition. I was a Field Lead for DSA’s Right to Counsel campaign last summer, helping plan strategic areas across Jersey City to help reach and inform tenants on how Right to Counsel could help them. I spoke at the Resign DeGise rally that happened back in Feburary demanding accountability from our elected officials for their silence. I also worked and volunteered on a few of the independent City Council campaigns in 2021.
5. What do you feel are the most important issues to Jersey City residents going forward and what would you do to address them?
Affordability is always at the forefront of issues that Jersey City residents are concerned with. People are suffering all across the city, whether it’s because of unregulated rent increases, evictions, unemployment, a question that is always on everyone’s mind is how much longer can I afford to stay here? We saw it almost 3 years ago with the IZO, and we’re seeing it now, low-income and moderate-income families are getting priced out and many of the elected officials that represent them are sitting idly as their conditions get worse. To address them I would commit to establishing a Community Land Trust, where Hudson County can partner with a housing non-profit to purchase land to build non-profit housing. I would commit to establishing a county-level Right to Counsel that is universally applied. The current RTC that exists at the county level is a great start but we need ensure that there are no means testing, or any other barriers that could prohibit anyone from having this program apply to them. I believe an important issue that isn’t talked about enough here are abortions and bringing Jersey City/Hudson County their first Planned Parenthood location. We need to invest in the advocacy of every woman’s choice of healthcare. We take for granted that New Jersey is a safe haven for the right to abortion and yet the nearest abortion clinic is a 30 minute drive from Jersey City.
6. Do you support the plan proposed for Liberty State Park by the Paul Fireman backed groups “Liberty State Park for All” and “The People’s
Liberty State Park has a personal place in my heart. When I was younger, going to Liberty State Park was a special trip my parents took me on every summer. I outright oppose any plan proposed by Paul Fireman backed groups. Liberty State Park cannot and should not be privatized. We need to preserve and protect Liberty State Park by putting pressure on our State Legislators to pass the Liberty State Park Protection Act. We also need to call out the very elected officials who chose to sell out Liberty State Park and chose to side with Fireman and his astroturf groups.
7. Are Jersey City property taxes too low, about right or too high?
I think property taxes in Jersey City are too high and part of the problem there is that a lot of homeowners don’t know why that is. With the JCPS losing a significant portion of state funding it’s understandable why some of the tax increases needed to happen. Be that as it may, since the pandemic occurred, the City budget fiasco where the budget meetings started happening 8 months into the fiscal year is a major problem. Many of the Council members rush to approve the budget without batting an eye that taxes across the board are increasing and people are struggling to pay their bills as it is.
8. Is there anything else our readers should know about you?
Regardless of what happens on June 6th, Jersey City will always be my home and I will always advocate for policies that improve the quality of life for everyone who calls this city and county home.