JERSEY CITY, NJ - There appears to be peace in Jersey City, or at least a detente, when it comes to the politics at 280 Grove Street, as well as the Hudson County Democratic Organization (HCDO).
Less than three years removed from an attempt he made to oust her father from Hudson County’s top spot, Mayor Steven Fulop and HCDO Chairwoman Amy DeGise announced Tuesday that they will run together in Jersey City’s municipal elections later this year.
In a conversation with TAPinto Jersey City, both Fulop and DeGise claimed that even before this partnership there was no bad blood between them. “I’ve had a good relationship with Amy for a long time,” Fulop said before pointing to the various roles she has already served in, and offering that, “she adds a lot to what we are trying to do here.”
Asked more about their prior conflict, Fulop said while perhaps he’d wished some of the emotion and language that went into that skirmish was “tempered down” he thought it was a “healthy conversation” to have.
“It brought us to where we are today,” Amy chimed in, adding that she was thankful, honored, and “taken by surprise” with the invitation to be a part of Fulop’s ticket. “We can’t have regrets,” she said.
Fulop celebrated that as a woman and a young candidate, Amy will bring a “unique perspective” to the office, especially “where government and education intersect.” Mentioning projects like SciTech City and efforts to leverage development to get schools built, Fulop said that when it comes to Jersey City’s classrooms and students there is a lot they are trying to do.
A lifelong Jersey City resident, public school teacher and former elected member of the Jersey City Board of Education, DeGise has politics in her blood. Her father, County Executive Tom DeGise, previously served in the position she hopes to win, while her aunt, Lois Shaw, was the first Democratic woman ever elected to the City Council in 1973—also in an at-Large seat.
Reflecting on time she spent in City Hall during her “formative years,” Amy offered an appreciation for getting to learn about the governmental process by being at her father’s side. More important than this, however, was the love of his hometown that the senior DeGise imparted on his daughter, she said. “That love rubbed off on me,” she said. “I learned if an issue is going to impact your neighbors you should also be concerned.”
By also recognizing the unique culture of each of Jersey City’s unique neighborhoods, DeGise feels Mayor Fulop has shown a similar love for the city as her father has. “He’s brought neighborhoods to the forefront,” Amy said, when asked what she thought was Fulop’s greatest accomplishment. “He’s helped each one individually.”
Already showing her own political mettle, Amy won a hotly contested election to become the first woman to lead the county party in 2018. She has since succeeded in uniting local Democrats and expanding the party’s reach into younger and more diverse communities.
In the HCDO position, Amy has worked to show off her progressive ideals—ones she said she shares with Fulop. Although the grand solutions some members in the Democratic Party may be seeking to big issues like racial equality and immigration may not be coming at the speed they want, the council hopeful offered an assurance that, “their opinions will be valued.”
DeGise, set to run for one of three At-Large seats, helps round out a ticket that already includes incumbent Council members Joyce Watterman, Daniel Rivera, Denise Ridley, Mira Prinz-Arey, Rich Boggiano, Yousef Saleh and Jermaine Robinson. Fulop is expected to announce the final member of his slate in the coming weeks.
Asked if this announcement—coming just weeks after Fulop and Councilman Richard Boggiano, themselves longtime political foes, also agreed to run together—was a concerted effort to bury old hatchets, the 40-something Mayor said that perhaps it’s a sign of growing older. It also, he concluded, is a sign of trying to accomplish what matters in “challenging times.”
“It’s all part of a plan,” Fulop shared, “to bring everyone together.”
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