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‘For the Children’ sweeps Secaucus school board race

Kelli Conroy D'Addetta, Alexander de Hombre, and Christina DeBari were elected

The "For the Children" slate includes Kelli Conroy D'Addetta, Alexander de Hombre, and Christina DeBari. Photo courtesy of the candidates.

The “For the Children” ticket has been elected to the three open seats in Tuesday, November 8 school board election in Secaucus, according to unofficial results from the Hudson County Clerk’s Office.

The slate, consisting of Kelli Conroy D’Addetta, Alexander de Hombre, and Christina DeBari, were the top three vote-getters. DeBari led with 2,294 votes, followed by D’Addetta with 2,187 votes, and de Hombre with 1,949 votes.

They faced off against the “Keep Moving Forward” ticket featuring Nicholas Mattiello and Monica Berckes. They came in fifth and sixth, with 1,313 and 1,240 votes each respectively, and there were 29 write-in votes.

In total there were 8,922 votes. Out of 12,873 registered voters, there were about 4,429 ballots cast. Those numbers equate to a turnout of 34.4 percent for the election.

While Berckes, Mattiello, and DeBari are newcomers, D’Addetta and de Hombre previously ran in 2021. D’Addetta came in fourth, just hundreds of votes short of being elected to the board.

The race was relatively quiet. It consisted of the usual door-knocking, attending community events, and the Junior State of America candidate forum.

Monica Berckes and Nicholas Mattiello of the “Keep Moving Forward” slate. Photo courtesy of the candidates.

At the forum, the candidates tried to distinguish each other, but they largely agreed on many topics, from parental choice on sex education in health education, to continuing to increase transparency and communication between the board and the community, to the need for more facilities in the district amid expanding classrooms due to redevelopment in town, and to assessing the impact on students from the COVID-19 pandemic and guiding the recovery efforts. What distinguished the slates the most was their endorsements.

The outgoing trustees including Board President Jack McStowe, Trustee Kathy O’Connell, and Trustee Jayesh Patel endorsed the “For the Children” ticket. Meanwhile, the “Keep Moving Forward” slate was endorsed, without asking for it, by the far-right New Jersey Project, which caused a stir in the Hoboken school board election, however, every candidate with their backing was not elected.

Purple are districts won by DeBari and green are districts won by D’Addetta.

D’Addetta, de Hombre, and DeBari will join the board amid a wave of change following the election of three new trustees on the “Change We Need” slate in 2021 featuring Leah Fanning-Farinola, Abigail Gonzalez, and Ruby Kish. The nine-member board will now seen six new members added in the past two years, in addition to a new superintendent once the ongoing search is over.

While change is undeniably in the air in Secaucus, things remain the same in Mayor Michael Gonnelli’s Administration. Three incumbent Secaucus council members also won re-election unopposed to the Town Council, including First Ward Councilman John Gerbasio, Second Ward Councilman James Clancy Jr., and Third Ward Councilwoman Orietta Truci-Tringali, a repeat of Gonnelli and the other ward council members in 2021.

For updates on this and other stories, check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Daniel Israel can be reached at disrael@hudsonreporter.com.

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