ELIZABETH, NJ – The cheers behind the closed door at City Hall told the whole story Election Night, November 3. The Board of Education candidates backed by Mayor J. Christian Bollwage, incumbent Charlene Bathelus and newcomers Stephanie Goncalves and Dan Nina, won all three seats up for election.
The vote is as follows: Charlene Bathelus, 4,931; Stephanie Goncalves, 5,031; and Dan Nina, 4,844; Tony Monteiro, 4,422; Michelle Velez-Jonte, 4,132; Elcy Castillo-Ospina, 4,086; and Marie Medeiros-DaRassi, 531.
“There is no doubt in my mind that the board of education candidates ran the closest to the Democratic candidates, and that has never happened in history,” said State Senator Raymond Lesniak. “That says that the people of Elizabeth realized that a change was needed. They realized that this election was important. It was important to the students, and it was important to the tax-payers and property owners in Elizabeth.”
A jubilant City Council President Patricia Perkins-Auguste remarked, “I am excited for the students and staff who work and attend the schools. We have a solid educational system here, but there are a lot of things we need to work on. We need to secure spending so that all across the city we are offering the same educational opportunities to all our students. Our educational professionals need to be working in an atmosphere where they are rewarded for their creativity and are able to be the best educators the city can produce.”
Later, at the victory party at First Republic, across from the Police Headquarters, Stephanie Goncalves greeted supporters. “We can fight for the well-being of the students of Elizabeth, our future role models.”
Although vote tallies for the Assembly and Freeholder races will not be final until tomorrow, it is projected that all on Column B, Assembly members Annette Quijano and Jamel Holley, Union County Clerk Joanne Rajoppi, and Freeholders Alexander Mirabella, Mohamed Jalloh, and Bruce Bergen, won by a large margin.