Although Democratic Rep. Albio Sires is running for reelection in November against three opponents, he sees his job in the election as getting the vote out for his colleague, U. S. Sen. Robert Menendez.
Sires is opposed by three candidates, Libertarian Dan Delaney, independent Mahmoud Mahmoud, and Republican John Muniz. In a strong Democratic county like Hudson, Sires’ seat is considered relatively safe, but these days, anything can happen.
Sires is running for his sixth term in the House of Representatives.
The 8th Congressional District contains portions of four counties and 15 municipalities. These include Fairview in Bergen County, part of Newark and all of Belleville in Essex County, Elizabeth in Union County, portions of Bayonne, Jersey City and Kearny, and all of East Newark, Guttenberg, Harrison, Hoboken, North Bergen, Union City, Weehawken, and West New York in Hudson County.
With state polls showing Menendez in a dead heat with his GOP Senate opponent, Bob Hugin, Sires sees his job as getting out the Democratic vote. A vote for Sires, he believes, is also a vote for Menendez.
A member of the House of Representatives since 2006, Sires was the first Hispanic to serve as mayor of West New York, speaker of the state Assembly, and acting governor. Born in Bejucal, Cuba, Sires immigrated to the United States at age 11, and eventually settled in West New York. He became a start basketball player at Memorial High School, earning a scholarship to St. Peter’s University in Jersey City. He later worked as a teacher and coach in West New York, and once ran for the House as a Republican.
Sires in Congress is seen as a advocate for mass transit, and has been responsible for a number of funding bills including those for a new transit tunnel under the Hudson River to Manhattan.
“I work hard for my constituents and meet with and listen to them,” he said. “I’m not much for town hall meetings. I would rather meet with people face to face.”
He sees critical issues this year as the recently enacted federal tax reform bill which he said is unfair to people of New Jersey.
Sires is also advocating for transportation funding, including additional revenue to expand the Hudson Bergen Light Rail. He has also pushed for and received additional federal funding for education.
He said he’s concerned that cuts in federal dollars for the upcoming 2020 census will have a massive impact on areas like Hudson County, because traditionally immigrant communities are undercounted and will need more resources to make certain everybody is accounted for.
Sires has also advocated for local school funding, in the past.
Sires GOP opponent Dr. John Muñiz is the senior pastor at Second Reformed Church in Jersey City. He also serves as an area command chaplain for the 88th Brigade of the New York Guard as well as a pro-bono associate chaplain of Pastoral Care at Hackensack UMC Palisades in North Bergen, as well as other similar roles. He is also the founder and president of the New Jersey School of Theology and was dean of Pillar College, a private accredited Christian College in New Jersey.
In addition, he is an engineering project manager and consultant, and has worked for the state Department of Corrections, the U.S. Postal Service, and other secular roles.
He said in a campaign release that his motive for running is to represent “all peoples, irrespective of race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, political or social status” and to make the community better.
A resident of Guttenberg, Mahmoud Mahmoud has worked as the regional director of services to the armed forces for the American Red Cross, New Jersey Together, as director for of Church World Service for New Jersey and at the United Nations. Running as an independent, he said he is concerned about minimum wage, universal healthcare, and affordable housing.
Dan Delaney was born and raised in Bergen County and attended high school in Oradell before getting his Bachelor’s in Computer Science at Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken. He is extremely critical of the inefficiencies and failures of the government, as well as federal interference in personal lives. He is also opposed to military interventions in foreign countries and what he calls unnecessary licenses and burdening regulatory restrictions make it harder for small businesses to get going.
“We need to get the government out of the way so that the market can function freely,” he said in press release.
“I work hard for my constituents and meet with and listen to them.” – Albio Sires