Bayonne Board of Education Trustee Denis Wilbeck plans to run for Council Member At-Large in the upcoming May 10 municipal election.
“I’d like to be an independent voice for a better Bayonne,” Wilbeck told the Bayonne Community News. “I’ve been in Bayonne all my life. I’ve been an educator and administrator.”
Wilbeck is a military veteran and retired educator, having taught at Horace Mann Community School in Bayonne. He has spent a collective 26 years between the Bayonne and Newark school districts, including as Vice Principal of Bayonne High School. Additionally, Wilbeck has also been president of the Hudson County Interscholastic Athletic Association for a number of years and is a current college sports official, as well as a former Rent Control Board member and a former president of the Hudson County Umpires Association.
Most notably, Wilbeck has also been a trustee on the Board of Education since being elected in 2015. He won a one-year term in the district’s first election after moving from appointed trustees back to elected trustees. He was re-elected in 2016 for a three-year term, and again in 2019, serving as board vice president from 2016 to 2020. Now, instead of running for re-election to the board in 2022, Wilbeck is running for a seat on the Bayonne City Council.
“I’ve been on the Board of Education for the last several years,” Wilbeck said. “I feel as a Councilman At-Large I would have a better opportunity to help the people that live in the city of Bayonne and go forward. With that thought in mind, I’m excited about running.”
‘An independent voice’
Wilbeck touts himself as an independent voice on the board. Sticking true to his self-proclaimed identity, Wilbeck is running by himself for the council seat, without being a part of any council slate or mayoral ticket.
“I want to run as an independent, not on a ticket, only because of the fact that when you run on a ticket, a lot of times you’re owing to the person that’s the head of the ticket,” he said.
According to Wilbeck, he is already easily accessible to residents as a board trustee and will be if elected to the council.
“I’m transparent,” Wilbeck said, noting that his business cards feature his face, phone number and home address so people can contact him. “People can meet me and contact me if they’re in need of help or if there’s anything I can do to help them.”
Currently, Mayor James Davis, City Council President Sharon Ashe-Nadrowski, and former Board of Education Trustee Michael Alonso are running for mayor. For the council, First Ward City Councilman Neil Carroll is running for re-election alongside Third Ward City Councilman Gary La Pelusa on a slate with Mayor Davis. Additionally, Davis has dropped Second Ward City Councilman Sal Gullace from his slate and has yet to officially announce a replacement. Meanwhile, Ashe-Nadrowski has not yet announced a slate, nor has Alonso.
“For myself, I’d be down the middle,” Wilbeck said. “I wouldn’t be kowtowing or owing anybody anything. I would be able to act totally as an independent voice for the people that live in the city.”
For updates on this and other stories, check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Daniel Israel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.