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Hudson County Democratic chair Amy DeGise. Photo by Kevin Sanders for New Jersey Globe.

Amy DeGise may seek council seat on Fulop ticket

Hudson Democratic Chair would replace Lavarro on mayor’s slate

By David Wildstein, August 19 2020 1:50 pm

Hudson County Democratic Chair Amy DeGise is expected to seek a Jersey City council seat next year on a slate headed by Mayor Steven Fulop, the New Jersey Globe has learned.

Several sources confirm that DeGise would replace Rolando Lavarro, a three-term at-large councilmember and the first Asian American to serve on the city council, but suggest that the deal is not yet finalized

Fulop has already announced his plans to run on a ticket with two at-large incumbents: Joyce Watterman, the current council president, and Daniel Rivera.  Both have been allied with Fulop.

Lavarro ran on the Fulop slate in 2013 and 2017, but the two have become political foes and Lavarro has been viewed as a potential candidate for mayor in 2021.

He had served as council president until earlier this year when Watterman replaced him.

Lavarro told the Globe that he has not made any decisions about what office to run for next year, if any.

“I believe I have more service to offer to the people of Jersey City, particularly in these extraordinary times,” Lavarro said. “But before I make and announce any decision about my future,  here are important and pressing matters to attend to such as establishing an inclusionary zoning policy and a Civilian Complaint Review Board; getting our census numbers up; and getting out the vote for Biden-Harris in the 2020 presidential election.”

DeGise declined comment.

She was elected county chair in 2018 after a group of Hudson mayors, including Fulop, attempted to force her father, Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise, out of office.

DeGise has run citywide before.

In 2017, DeGise was elected to the Jersey City Board of Education.  She was the top vote-getter, running nearly 8,000 votes ahead of the second-place finisher and almost 10,000 votes ahead of the losing candidate, now-Councilman Yousef Saleh.

A public school teacher, DeGise ran with the endorsement of the Jersey City Education Association.

“Amy DeGise brings a lot to the table as a citywide candidate and her presence on Mayor Fulop’s ticket would be further evidence of the positive relationship that the Mayor has developed with other Democratic leaders in Hudson County and throughout the state who all have a great deal of respect and admiration for Chairwoman DeGise,” an person connected to the Fulop campaign told the Globe on the condition of anonymity.

Fulop has announced plans to include incumbents Denise Ridley (Ward A), Mira Prinz-Arey (Ward B) and Jermaine Robinson (Ward F) on his ticket.

Saleh, who was appointed to the Ward D seat in the spring following the death of Michael Yun, has Fulop’s backing in a November special election; if he wins, he would likely be on the mayor’s slate next year.

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