Cosmo Cirillo has announced the final member of his slate of township commission candidates for the May non-partisan municipal elections: Walter Lopez, a former West New York Housing Authority director and the husband of former Commissioner Michelle Lopez.
Cirillo, a three-term commissioner, is challenging former Rep. Albio Sires in the race for mayor. Sires ended his 16-year career in Congress earlier this month and is seeking to reclaim the mayoral post he held from 1995 to 2006.
Former Mayor Felix Roque, who lost his bid for a third term in 2019, is also considering a comeback bid.
The incumbent, Gabe Rodriguez, is not seeking re-election and instead is a candidate for State Assembly in the 33rd district with the support of State Sen. Brian Stack (D-Union City) and the Hudson County Democratic organization.
If elected, Lopez would become the first Salvadoran American to serve as a West New York commissioner.
“Throughout the pandemic, Walter bravely served as an essential healthcare worker while doing his best to help save lives. He is also an experienced public employee that currently works for the town,” Cirillo stated. “This is another well-known member of our community that will work very hard to help make West New York the best it can be.”
In West New York, the top five vote-getters win seats on the town commission in the May non-partisan municipal election, which then picks the mayor from within.
“I have had the pleasure of knowing Cosmo for over a decade and have seen his commitment to our community grow each and every day,” Lopez said. “He is exactly the type of person we need leading WNY in a bright and positive direction.”
In 2016, West New York settled lawsuits filed by Walter and Michelle Lopez for $150,000 and $200,000, respectively. They alleged that being on a political hitlist led to their demotions as public employees.
Michelle Lopez had been allied with former Mayor Sal Vega, who was unseated by Roque in 2011.
Sires has not yet announced his slate.