1. What about your background makes you a good County Commissioner?
My background has helped me be a better County Commissioner. I came to the USA from the Dominican Republic just before finishing dental school. In America I earned an Associates degree in dental hygiene, a Bachelors in biology, and a Masters in Public Health. I am most grateful for the educational opportunities given me here in America. Currently I am a director of children’s oral health programs in 8 New Jersey counties for a nonprofit public health corporation. In addition to my professional work experiences and formal education, I have a deep love for people and a desire to want to help them. I work very well with all my constituents. I attend lots of community meetings and cultural festivals. I serve on our county’s planning board, and I am very approachable and listen very well.
2. How does your background inform how you approach your job?
In addition to the qualities I listed in the first question that make me a better commissioner, I would add the values my family, particularly my grandmother, modeled for me and being married for 30 years this upcoming December have helped inform my decisions. From my family I learned the importance of hard work, helping people, and staying faithful to causes I believe in. My husband and I support each other. His support allows me to have time to do things in, and for, District 4.
3. Some people believe that “the line” is unfair and illegal. What is your position on it?
I can understand why some would feel “the line” is unfair and illegal. Keep in mind it is currently legal but being challenged in the courts. I can see how some could view the line as unfair. On the other hand, I have also seen candidates win off the line because of their hard work and connectivity with constituents. I hope to be judged by the content of my character not a position on the line.
4. Can you tell us about specific causes you’ve worked on in Jersey City?
Causes that I have worked on specifically are balanced/stable budgets, which can easily be found at www.hcnj.us/finance/ (scroll down the page to find 12 years of audited budgets), direct services for our homeless and senior neighbors, helicopter reduction in our area, bike-pedestrian-vehicular safety and education, protecting Liberty State Park, women’s empowerment, helping families apply for admissions to Hudson County Schools of Technology and Hudson County Community College as well as appeal decisions that are not favorable, worked with inmates at the county jail, their families, and jail staff to facilitate optimum communication, and, lastly, being a commissioner on the County planning board who has missed only 1 meeting.
5. What do you feel are the most important issues to Jersey City residents going forward and what would you do to address them?
The most important issues I hear from constituents in District 4 are related to financial concerns, housing affordability, and disconnectedness from government. Regarding financial concerns, I have been a big advocate for lifelong learning and career readiness programs. If people are better trained, they stand a better chance of finding a good job. I have also supported and referred constituents to our County’s Economic Development Corporation, which has helped constituents develop business plans and obtain business loans. Recently union leaders and rank and file members reminded me of the need to champion fairer, more equal bidding opportunities for development projects. Concerning affordable housing, I will continue to work with my colleagues, municipalities, and private partners to build more affordable housing, particularly for senior citizens. The last issue I hear about is how residents, particularly longterm ones, feel government does not work as well today. I point out areas where it does do particularly well in addressing the challenges we face today, but I also take notes where it can be better and bring these constituent concerns to the attention of county directors and/or others who might be able to address these matters.
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?’
No. I support the open, fair, transparent process that was started by Olivia Glenn, then New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Deputy Commissioner, and continued by current NJ DEP Commissioner Shawn M. LaTourette. The NJ DEP professionals with lots of public input and surveys recommended that 61 acres of LSP land be set aside for active recreation. Sixty-one acres could fit almost 15 baseball fields, or nearly 50 football fields, or close to 200 swimming pools, or about 1000 tennis courts. Any combination of these facilities constructed on 61 acres inside of Liberty State Park would provide our city a significant increase in active recreational facilities yet keep the rest of the park serene enough for visitors or nature lovers to enjoy.
7.Are Jersey City property taxes too low, about right, or too high?
If you pay taxes, then they are too high, but we have to keep in mind the vast number of services supported by our tax dollars. Being part of the conversations about spending priorities allows me to present ideas to my colleagues that impact my district as well as learn from them about their concerns and work together toward common solutions. That’s why I’m running for re-election.
8. Is there anything else our readers should know about you?
I’m a fan of parks, open space, and beaches. I like to travel, go to church, eat healthy, and exercise. Lastly, my favorite movies are comedies, and my favorite radio station is 106.7 Lite FM, especially to listen to Delilah.