Joseph E Branco

1. What about your background would make you a good County Commissioner?

I have been a small businesses owner and self-employed for over 25 years now.  I graduated NYU with a degree in hotel restaurant management. My professional experience and education combine an emphasis on client and customer service as well as strong business skills which include strong financial management, contract and vendor negotiations, and organization and planning. As a private business owner I am equally responsible for the day-to-day tasks which can include administrative duties, manual tasks, errands, managing a P&L and everything in between. Whether it was my first job making minimum wage, to one of countless volunteer experiences and events, my work ethic is the same. I am the first one to start and the last one to finish. People have described me as only having one setting and that setting is ‘All In.’ Regardless of my role or the task at hand, my commitment is always to give 100%

2. In a largely Democratic area, how, as a Republican, do you plan to attract Democratic voters?

I am aware that there is a political divide in our local communities and across the country. My interest in getting involved is rooted in doing what is right, ensuring equity of services and advocating at the county level to ensure District 5 residents, regardless of political affiliation get the services they deserve. I believe in collaboration. I believe that people can have different beliefs and priorities and still come together. I do not believe our political affiliation defines our full self or character. I want a thriving economy for our community and our country, and I believe in fairness and equity of services and opportunities. I will be a fierce advocate for Hoboken residents with these priorities in mind.

3. Some people believe that “the line” for party endorsed candidates is unfair and illegal. What is your position on it?

I believe the county line if implemented correctly serves a purpose in ensuring that candidates running truly represent the values and goals of the party they aim to represent. As it stands now there is no mechanism to truly gauge whether or not a candidate believes in their party’s goals so the county line provides a counter balance in that to earn the county line a candidate must demonstrate their commitment to the party’s values. That being said it is important that the county line be given to those who earn the majority endorsement of the county committee members in the case of a contested primary, instead of just being awarded the line by county leadership with no real input from its membership.

4. Can you tell us about specific causes you’ve worked on in Jersey City?

Before moving to Hoboken, I lived in Jersey City and Union City, I have been active in Hudson County issues and elections and events. For Jersey City in particular, I was a member of the Jersey City Rotary. I am immediate Past President.  During my tenure we hosted many great events for the Jersey City community including: back to school bbq’s, toys for tots, a warm coat projects, cooking for homebound seniors during covid and led several international good will missions. For almost 20 years I owned a night club and donated my space countless times to organizations to help raise money for different charities.

5. What do you feel are the most important issues to Jersey City residents going forward and what would you do to address them?

Jersey City’s evolution over the past 20 years is incredible but as with many neighborhoods, it is important to have balanced development. I understand the desire to develop and attract new residents, offer new services and development projects but we have to be mindful to balance that with reasonable cost to residents. If we do not pay attention, not only do we drive away families who have been in Jersey City for generations, we even start to price out the newcomers. Jersey City is considered one of the most expensive cities in America and we have to keep our eye on the spending. 

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 Park

I believe that Liberty State Park belongs to all of us, to the people. The priority is protecting the open space for all residents to enjoy. That said, there may be opportunities to discuss possible private projects that have minimal impact to the park while providing some tax relief to the residents but that is case by case with the open space remaining the priority. 

7. Are Jersey City property taxes too low, about right or too high?

I know that development comes with a price, but I feel that Jersey City went from being a reasonable place to live to unaffordable due to significant tax increases. Everyone supports all the spending and investment until it hits their personal bottom line in taxes. Again, I feel we have a responsibility for balanced spending and development.  Taxes impact homeowners and renters.

8. Is there anything else our readers should know about you?

On a personal note:

For some, you know of me as the guy with a loud voice and maybe in your opinion my voice is too loud at times. To those people I will say my intentions are good. I believe in integrity, hard work and equity. And maybe we haven’t agreed on every topic, but I can promise you that I give 100% to everything and I will be an advocate for our residents and community. For those who do not know me, I grew up in affordable housing and have been working since the age of 12. I am a father of 2 teenage boys and when I wake up every day I think about the role model I want to be for them, and that is someone who works hard every day and who is an active participant in their community not just a bystander. I stand up for what I believe in and want them to do the same. I believe that people with different backgrounds and beliefs can work together for a common goal. I am happy to meet anyone who is interested in asking me questions to learn more about me.

On a professional note:

I am a graduate of NYU for Hotel Restaurant Management: I have always had a focus on the service industry which has also led to service in other aspects of my life in volunteerism. I have owned successful businesses over the past 25 years. I am a licensed realtor since 2003 and a trustee for nonprofit affordable housing board. I previously held the position of Hudson Director of the NJ License Beverage Association. I am a member of the Jersey City Dante Alighieri Society, as well as Alpha Phi Delta National Fraternity and currently serve as the Hoboken Chairman of the Republican Party.