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New leadership for Hoboken

first_imgTimothy Karr Dear Editor:One of the few bright lights in an otherwise dark Trump era is the emergence in local politics of young progressive leaders. Local progressives have won municipal elections across the country and are now banding together to ward off right-wing attacks on undocumented immigrants, voting rights, civil liberties and racial equity. For the most, Hoboken hasn’t been part of this hopeful realignment of power — in part due to the decades-old stranglehold of Democratic-machine politics, which is more about patronage of Hudson County’s old guard than it is about forging a just and inclusive vision for the future.As I look across the large field of Hoboken mayoral candidates only one stands out as a leader in this mold: Ronald Alfredo Bautista. Ron is a longtime resident of Hoboken who moved here at 13 as an undocumented immigrant from Guayaquil, Ecuador. He graduated from Hoboken High School, where he routinely outscored his classmates on civic exams while leading the soccer team to county championships; he paid his way through college by growing his mother’s business cleaning Hoboken homes.Ron’s professional life includes stints working for education nonprofits and consulting local governments on transit solutions and economic development. He’s the real deal who shares a vision for a people-friendly Hoboken that dares to engage everyone in civic life, including those who have long been afraid to stand up and speak out. His ideas about participatory budgeting have proven successful in involving a representative cross-section of local populations in key decisions about the allocation of city resources. It was little more than a year after he became a full-fledged U.S. citizen that Ron opted to enter the race for mayor. His name may not be familiar to you. Many of the other candidates would rather Ron had stayed out of the race. Some have even gone so far as to deny that he’s running at all — for fear that Hoboken’s sizable Hispanic community (including 5,000 registered voters) will rally behind him. They should. And so should the rest of us. That’s why on November 7 I will be casting my vote for the next mayor of Hoboken: Ron Bautista. last_img read more

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