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West New York Commissioner Margarita Guzman joins ‘West New York Forward Team’

Guzman is the first running mate with Commissioner Cosmo Cirillo in his bid for mayor

West New York Commissioner Margarita Guzman (left) and Commissioner Cosmo Cirillo at the November 2020 unveiling of the renovated Centennial Soccer Field. Photo courtesy of Guzman.

West New York Commissioner of Revenue and Finance Margarita Guzman has announced she is running on a slate with Commissioner of Public Affairs and mayoral candidate Cosmo Cirillo, Ph.D.

Cirillo recently announced his intentions to run for mayor of West New York in 2023. Mayor Gabriel Rodriguez is not expected to run for re-election, instead running for state General Assembly for the new 33rd Legislative District on a ticket with Union City Mayor and State Senator Brian Stack.

Cirillo ran with Rodriguez, who is also Sires’ godson, as well as Commissioners Victor Barrera, Yoleisy Yanez and Margarita Guzman in 2019. In a sweep of the election, they defeated incumbent Mayor Dr. Felix Roque and his slate of commissioners. Prior to being a commissioner, Cirillo was a president of the West New York Board of Education and a staffer for former Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto and Assemblywoman Angelica Jimenez.

Cirillo will face off against outgoing Rep. Albio Sires, who decided not to seek re-election in 2022 and instead will run for West New York mayor in 2023. Sires was replaced by Congressman-elect Robert Menendez, Jr. after the November midterm elections.

Sires is now seeking to return to the post he held for three terms, for about 11 years, prior to being elected Congress in 2006. In addition, Roque, who was unseated by Rodriguez, has hinted he is strongly thinking about running, potentially making it a three-way race.

Barerra and Yanez are expected to run with Sires, and Guzman was expected to run with Cirillo. Now Guzman has confirmed this is the case, as Cirillo rolls out a member of his slate one by one.

“I am extremely proud to support Commissioner Cosmo A. Cirillo, Ph.D. in his bid to become the next Mayor of the Town of West New York,” Guzman said in a statement. “During the past eight years we’ve served together, it is clear that his drive, determination and passion revolve around helping our residents and moving our Town in a positive direction. As someone who immigrated here from the Dominican Republic, I understand the challenges our immigrant community faces and bring a unique perspective to the governing body. We need a Mayor that will be accessible to our community and he has demonstrated time and time again that he is more than capable of putting in the necessary hard work for the betterment of our Town. I look forward to working with him and our entire West New York Forward Team during the campaign.”

2023 municipal election campaigns begin

In the 2019 election, Guzman finished in fourth with 3,584, earning her a seat on the board. In West New York, commissioners are elected to the board every four years from the top five candidates with the most votes. Then, after the election, the five-member board elects a mayor.

Rodriguez came in second to Cirillo back in 2019, with 3,682 votes for Rodriguez to 3,702 for Cirillo. Barrera got 3,503 votes and Yanez got 3,454, while then-mayor Roque trailed in sixth with 2,870 votes.

In a statement of his own, Cirillo said: “I am honored to have the support of someone that exemplifies the true meaning of a servant leader. During the past eight years, Commissioner Guzman has been a staunch advocate for the residents of West New York. In particular, during her tenure as Commissioner of Revenue and Finance, she has been able to maintain stable taxes and develop budgets that highlight much-needed priorities within our Town while also being the first in Town to create a food distribution program to help feed thousands of families affected by the pandemic. As Commissioner of Park’s and Public Property, she was instrumental in bringing much-needed upgrades to many of our parks as well as improvements to our Swim Club which included a brand new children’s splash park. Additionally, her work with Cultural Affairs always brings our community together in a fun and positive way. Her experience, personality and caringness are invaluable attributes to the West New York Forward Team.”

Rounding out the slate running for the 33rd Legislative District seats with Stack and Rodriguez in 2024 is anticipated to be North Bergen Commissioner of Revenue and Finance Julio Marenco. If that occurs, that leaves the current Assemblywoman Angelica Jimenez and Assemblyman Pedro Mejia without any seats, leading to speculation that Jimenez will run on a slate with Cirillo.

Meanwhile, Sires has not announced any candidates on his slate yet since he has not officially declared his mayoral campaign and won’t do so until his Congressional term ends, although Barrera and Yanez are already speculated to run with him. And Roque has not committed to running yet, meaning there will not likely be any announcements on his end for now, either.

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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