HOBOKEN — Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer announced at a press conference Tuesday morning that she will not seek re-election in November, although she had said previously she would run.
She said she will support her ally, Councilman Ravi Bhalla, an attorney, for the slot. The mayor’s and three council-at-large slots are in contention this November.
She also said she wants to pursue her passion, which is fighting climate change. Donald Trump has recently announced the county’s intention to withdraw from the Paris Accords — international agreements about manufacturing and fossil fuel output — and announced in March his intention to roll back regulations governing greenhouse gasses. High-ranking members of his administration have expressed cynicism about global warming, despite the fact that several federal websites, including those of NASA, the EPA, and the National Weather Service, outline past ramifications of manmade pollution and warn that the earth’s global temperature could continue increasing. The Trump administration announced in April that they would revamp some of the climate change related websites to be more in line with the new administration’s thinking.
Zimmer and Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop have already publicly opposed Trump’s position on the Paris Accords.
In the press conference Tuesday, Zimmer said, “When I made the decision to run for City Council ten years ago and for mayor eight years ago, I wasn’t looking to start a long career in politics; I wanted to help my community at a time when we were facing major challenges, and believe I have accomplished that task and am hopeful about Hoboken’s future.”
She added, “This has been a very difficult decision. However, as many people know, I consider the issue of climate change and resiliency to be an extremely urgent challenge facing our city, our state, and our nation. I am extremely proud that Hoboken is on track to be protected from the impacts of climate change with the Rebuild by Design project, our resiliency parks, a microgrid, and other initiatives. But while our city is on the right track, our country is not. With President Trump backing out of the Paris Accord, demonstrating the federal government’s lack of commitment to addressing climate change, I have decided that it is the right time for me to take on a new role working more directly on this critical issue. Once I complete my mayoral term, I will decide on the best way I can devote my time and energy to the urgent fight against climate change.”
Bhalla will face opposition from Councilman Michael DeFusco, a former ally; businesswoman Karen Nason, and probably Freeholder Anthony Romano.
Regarding Bhalla, Zimmer said, “I know Ravi is ready to step up and lead our city forward. Councilman Bhalla and I have worked hand in hand to put our city back on the right track. Ravi’s leadership on the council was essential to saving our hospital, to restoring fiscal responsibility, to moving Rebuild by Design forward to combat our flooding problem, and to securing new parks. He will get the job done for all of Hoboken.”
Bhalla said, “Mayor Zimmer has raised the bar for what it means to be a great mayor and I am proud to have been with her every step of the way. I pledge to build on our progress, holding the line on taxes, insisting on fiscal responsibility, ensuring the implementation of Rebuild by Design to solve our flooding problem, and repairing our aging infrastructure.”
Bhalla noted that over the course of the campaign, he will be announcing specific plans and proposals but said one of his main focuses will be the city’s infrastructure.
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