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HOBOKEN MATTERS: Mayoral Candidate Interview with Anthony Romano


Like many of you, we at Little Hoboken are a bit overwhelmed with this mayoral election. There are quite a few candidates, and each have some good ideas. In order to understand each candidate, their platform and get a better idea of their plans for Hoboken, we sent each candidate some questions.

It is important to note that we sent the exact same questions to every single candidate. Each response is in their own words and has not been edited at all.

We will post their responses as we receive them. Stay tuned for more!!

How long have you lived in Hoboken, and what do you love most about living here?

I am a third generation resident of Hoboken. I was born here and I love this city. One of the most important things about Hoboken, which I value more than anything, is the diversity of the people; the mom and pop storefronts; the entertainment, arts and culture; and how the city embraces and celebrates the people. I love how vibrant this city has become, and it is truly on the path to becoming a world class city.

What made you decide to run for Mayor? When was that “ah-ha” moment?

I have held numerous positions in Hoboken and Hudson County. I am a former teacher, Board of Education member, police captain, and currently a county freeholder. I have spent my entire career in public service, and when Mayor Zimmer announced that she will not seek re-election, I knew that this was my time to run for mayor. This is a career-defining opportunity.

Why should you be our Mayor? What sets you apart from the other candidates?

I am running because Hoboken, at this critical juncture, needs an experienced, dynamic leader—one with the vision and commitment to build a stronger, better and more vibrant Hoboken. Hoboken is growing exponentially, and I have the most experience of all of the candidates in leadership and public service. My entire career has been devoted to the people. I also have the institutional knowledge of the city, and I understand what the most critical issues are—from transportation to education and every public policy area in between. I am also a small business owner and I care that we embrace ingenuity and innovation in our city. The other thing that truly sets me apart from my competition is that I am very engaged with the people. I participate in just about every Hoboken public event. I support different sectors and community groups. I have a vision for Hoboken that will make us a world class city. These are the reasons that set me apart from the other candidates.

Do you have political experience? What experiences in your life have prepared you to run such a dynamic and diverse city?

I have had the rare privilege of serving the public my entire career. I started as a public school teacher, Board of Education Trustee, Police Captain, and I am currently a Hudson County Freeholder. These experiences gave me a deep respect for the professionalism of public service, as well as an understanding of the responsibilities and commitments of the elected government. I saw first-hand how providing good public administration depends on mutual respect and understanding people. No other candidate has devoted their entire career to public service like I have and will continue to do.

Hoboken Public Schools are such a hot topic, and unfortunately, so many are misinformed about what is really going on. What do you think Hoboken residents need to know about the schools, and what are your plans for the public school system?

I am a true supporter of education and always have been. I understand how residents feel about education in Hoboken. Hoboken was previously designated as an Abbott district. We have one of the highest per pupil spending rates in the county; however, we need to understand why. For one, we have schools that are over a century old. The upkeep of these schools is costly. We need to remodel some of our schools and consider ways to reduce the cost to maintain them. Also, the public school system offers beneficial programs for kids like kindergarten and early childhood education, which impacts the budget.

We also have several charter schools that are operating very effectively. Their students are learning on grade level and meeting the content standards as required. I am in support of all schools – whether public or charter. I have spoken about education in my last several events. What Hoboken needs is to invest in making the city an innovative ecosystem that embraces education, learning and application of skills, which ultimately yields a higher return on investment. We are geographically in the best location to accomplish this.

A few candidates have mentioned community centers and/or pools. What are your thoughts on this and do you have a plan for this in your campaign?

Of course we all know that community centers are one of the cornerstones of this city. We want to expand on delivering enriching activities, recreational sports and parks. As far as building a new community center or a pool for that matter, requires us to analyze the budget and to determine if in fact we have the discretionary funding to do so. I would rather explore grants and other opportunities to receive funding outside of tapping into the city’s coffers. Another concern of mine is that taxes may be impacted by these decisions and I want to ensure that we do not overburden our residents. Our team is fortunate to have two experienced professionals in education and recreation, Buddy Matthews and David Mello. Together, they are working on comprehensive plans to add value to what we already have in place.

Commuters live here because Hoboken’s close proximity to NYC, and yet our travel options can be frustrating with crowded buses and limited schedules. Do you have plans to accommodate our growing commuter population?

One of my platform issues concerns traffic and congestion which directly impacts citizens. Hoboken has one of the highest rates of transit passengers in the country, and we are growing. I plan to convene a series of meetings between my administration, the Port Authority, and NJ Transit, to advocate for increasing PATH services and bus lines to Hoboken. A few years ago, The Port Authority eliminated some of their services to Hoboken and we need to work on a collaborative plan to add services back. This is going to be challenging but I am confident that we can agree on solutions to mitigate the issue.

Mayor Zimmer has made a lot of great improvements in Hoboken in two terms as Mayor. What things are you looking to keep going or expand on. What are you looking to change?

Mayor Zimmer has done some good work for Hoboken and I applaud her efforts. I am supportive of the resiliency plan that she implemented along with flood prevention. I will definitely expand the water retention system and add additional pumps throughout the city. In my opinion, this is the most time-sensitive, critical issue that the next mayor will have to solve. I also support the sustainability efforts Mayor Zimmer implemented along with the expansion of open space. My goal is to build upon the beneficial improvements we have seen over the years.

SEE POST FOR: MIKE DEFUSCO

SEE POST FOR: RON BAUTISTA

SEE POST FOR: RAVI BHALLA

SEE POST FOR: KAREN NASON

SEE POST FOR: JEN GIATTINO

Candidate responses, pictures, graphics and any information related to the mayoral election is posted in random order

and does not reflect any endorsement or preference.

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HEADER PHOTO CREDIT: Danielle Guenther Photography

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