Joseph C. Bodek, the longtime Linden City Clerk, was elected to the Union County Board of Commissioners this evening to replace Christopher Hudak, who resigned to become the Union County Surrogate.
Bodek, who had the backing of Senate President and Union County Democratic Chairman Nicholas Scutari and Linden Mayor Derek Armstead, won without opposition.
“Union County is lucky to have such a dedicated public servant filling this vacancy,” Scutari said. “Joe is one of the most decent, honest, hardest working, and dedicated people you will ever meet and his selection is a triumph for Union County and its Democratic Committee.”
Scutari and Bodek are longtime political allies, but their relationship didn’t start out that way.
In 1994, the 25-year-old Scutari was elected to the Linden Board of Education in a race against Bodek. Scutari was the top vote-getter with 1.993 votes; Bodek finished fourth in a field of five candidates for three seats with 1,633 votes.
But two months later when there was a vacancy on the school board, Scutari voted to appoint Bodek, who won 5-3.
He has served as city clerk for seventeen years and was the Linden Democratic municipal chairman and the Democratic Club president.
“Chris Hudak was an excellent County Commissioner and the County is lucky to have him serving as the new Surrogate. I’m honored by the support I received from Chairman Scutari, Vice-Chair Carter, Mayor Armstead and the entire Democratic Committee,” Bodek said. “I look forward to fighting for Union County’s taxpayers and building upon the County’s record for fiscal responsibility.”
Bodek, 66, is expected to seek a full three year term in 2023. Republicans have not won a countywide race in Union since 1995.
His father was a Jersey City Fire Department battalion chief and his mother held a “Rosie the Riveter” type position at the General Motors Plant in Linden during World War II.