On Tuesday, Feb. 5, West New York Mayor Felix Roque announced the official slate he will run with in his incumbent campaign under the “Continue the Progress” ticket.
At a press conference in his office that afternoon, Roque was accompanied by sitting commissioner Susan Colacurio, Maite Fernandez, Richie Acosta, and Ana Luna, who are all running on Roque’s ticket.
Commissioner Colacurcio is currently the Department of Public Works (DPW) Commissioner and has been a teacher in the town’s school district for 43 years. She served as the Department of Revenue and Finance Commissioner for three years until she switched over in mid-2018.
“I’m very happy to be the commissioner of the Department of Public Works,” Colacurcio said. “It’s an area of our town that’s been neglected over the years, and finally, we’re bringing dignity to our streets.” Colacurcio said. Mayoral candidate Gabriel Rodriguez, Roque’s rival, served as the DPW Commissioner before Colacurcio.
Maite Fernandez, currently a Board of Education Trustee, cited her involvement with the town’s recreational programs; and Ana Luna serves as the Secretary of the Rent Control Board. Richie Acosta hasn’t held any government positions but did run unsuccessfully in the most recent Board of Education election.
All together now
Asked if he had difficulty putting together his slate, Roque said, “It wasn’t difficult at all. I knew these people, these were my friends. The first thing I said to myself was ‘I’ve got to find somebody who’s always been there to cater to the community.’”
West New York’s tax rates have increased only 0.1 percent over the past three years, and infrastructure and roadwork projects have been underway during the current administration. Hence the slogan “Continue the Progress.”
Congressman Albio Sires, who has publicly vowed to oust Roque, is backing Roque’s opponents.
“I have the utmost respect for the Congressman, and if he wants to go against me, I’m okay with that, I always welcome a challenge,” Roque said, citing the challenges he faced as an Army Colonel and a surgeon specializing in pain management. “I love competing, but let’s compete the right way. This isn’t about fighting, insults, and trying to degrade each other, because at the end of the day, I don’t lose, the taxpayers lose.”
Roque, who also serves as the commissioner of public safety, said the first initiative he hopes to tackle come May is a rearrangement of some town buildings. He aims to build a new public library at a building the township purchased from the Board of Education, and turn the current library into a new police headquarters.