Attorney Yousef Saleh will get the Michael Yun’s Ward D council seat, Council President Joyce Watterman announced today.
Yun died of coronavirus on April 6.
The 31-year-old son of Palestinian immigrants, Saleh ran for the school board in 2018 and served as a law clerk in the Jersey City Law Department.
“There’s no doubt, Mr. Saleh will be a great Ward D Councilman,” Watterman said. “These are unforeseen circumstances in unprecedented times, and while we never imagined having to make such a saddened decision, we know Yousef Saleh is the best person to advocate for The Heights where he has lived since he was born, and where he has been involved in everything from the local Farmers’ Market to the Community Board.”
Saleh will need to face voters in his The Heights ward in a November special election to fill the remaining fourteen months of Yun’s term.
“Having worked alongside Councilman Yun, I am extremely saddened for his family and for the community’s loss of a passionate and tireless advocate,” said Saleh. “I do hope to make him and all Ward D residents proud by taking an oath to do my absolute best as a staunch advocate for the community where I was fortunate enough to grow up surrounded by loving family and friends, and where I still live today. I’m truly humbled to be considered for this great honor.”
Four others had sought the appointment: former Assemblyman Sean Connors, Cynthia Hadjiyannis, an attorney who represented the Village Neighborhood and is viewed as an open to development; Patrick Ambrossi, an analyst for the Hudson County Division of Housing and Community Development and a Hudson County Young Democrats executive board member; and Jocelyn Patrick, the president of the Riverview Neighborhood Association.
The city council pulled a resolution to name a successor last week.
Councilman Richard Boggiano said that Yun told him before he died that the late councilman wanted Conners to succeed him if anything ever happened to him.
Connors withdrew from the race after it became apparent that the votes were not there for him.
Saleh’s selection allows Mayor Steven Fulop to expand his working majority on the city council from five to six of the nine seats.
“Councilman Yun was a tireless advocate for Jersey City, and he will always be remembered for his contributions to the community,” said Fulop. “While nobody can pick up exactly where Councilman Yun had left off, I believe Yousef will be able to continue the progress that we have seen in Ward D over the years.”