Bayonne Mayor Mark Smith tonight presented his team of five council candidates.
In office for 16 months now after winning a special election in November of 2008 and faced with a challenge by Assemblyman Anthony Chiappone (D-Bayonne), Smith wants to secure a full, four-year term on May 11th.
The mayor’s At-Large running mates are Councilman Terry Ruane, a retired Bayonne postmaster; and Debby Czerwienski, a Catholic school teacher at All Saints Academy. His First Ward council candidate is Agnes Gillespie, a veteran Bayonne High School educator. Running in the Second Ward on the Smith Team is Joe Hurley, a retiring Bayonne Fire Department deputy chief.
Third Ward Council Candidate Ray Greaves is a union leader and executive board member who represents New Jersey Transit employees.
“We still have a lot of hard work to do, but there’s no question that Bayonne is moving forward today with a leaner, more efficient government and a solid plan for our city’s future,” Smith tonight told a large spill-out crowd of firefighters, cops, labor, seniors and Bayonne residents.
“I am very proud to run with this council team of fresh new faces and independent new leaders,” added the mayor. “These are exceptional people who work hard behind the scenes to get things done for Bayonne. They are fine citizens who love our great city as much as I do. They are parents who care about our future. They are volunteers who work with our kids, or seniors, or people with special needs. They teach, they save lives, they get involved and they care very deeply about our home.”
Bayonne sources say today’s Hudson Reporter contained a full page ad placed by Mary Jane Desmond bashing Smith. A former councilwoman and general manager of a fire and water damage cleanup company, Desmond has reportedly taken out petitions to run for council against Smith’s team.
Up against federal charges for tranferring legislative aide checks over to his campaign account, Chiappone intends to run with At-Large candidate Dennis Wilbeck, a vice principal at Henry E. Harris School; and 2nd Ward Council candidate Ramon Veloz, a local businessman.
According to local news reports, Councilman Gary La Pelusa, John Budnik and Leonard Kantor have also all taken out petitions to run for mayor.