WEST NEW YORK – Former Hudson County Freeholder and West New York resident Jose Munoz said on Thursday that he will not run for commissioner in his hometown this year.
“At this time, following much activity in my personal life, I have chosen not to run for Commissioner of West New York,” said Munoz in a written statement. “It was a difficult decision for me to make. My days and nights were consumed with the thought of disappointing my friends and those who have supported me. This was coupled with an inner feeling of not finishing what we as concerned residents of West New York started in an effort to make West New York a better place to live for our children, friends, and neighbors. My vision has not changed and my desire is and will continue to be for the greater good, but right now, I must consider the needs of my family.
“I have been watching from the sidelines with keen interest the on goings within the political landscape in West New York and have noticed a significant change,” Munoz added. “I have noticed declared candidates that came forward early in the campaign and those that have recently become candidates now having common ground – all are qualified to move West New York forward towards a brighter future.”
Munoz is a longtime rival of West New York Mayor Felix Roque. He testified against Roque and his son at a 2013 federal trial after federal charges were filed against the mayor and his son in 2012 for allegedly hacking a website set up by then-Freeholder Munoz that aimed to recall Roque. Roque was acquitted of the charges in October 2013; his son, Joseph, was convicted of a misdemeanor.
Roque’s rival in the upcoming 2015 West New York mayoral election, Commissioner Count Wiley, has already set up an opposition slate. The fact that Munoz was not on the opposition ticket was surprising to many in the Hudson County town.
But Munoz, after noting a trend toward unity in the often-divisive politics of West New York, stuck by his decision not to run, and looked toward the future.
“As residents, we have fought hard over the years to be heard and to receive the recognition we rightfully deserve. I believe we have succeeded in this quest. Just look at the caliber of candidates running for Commissioner. Each candidate brings with them a sense of purpose. A purpose that is supported by being ‘qualified’ to represent the residents of a community I love – West New York,” Munoz wrote. “I would at this time like to thank all of you for all you have done to make my dreams a reality and rest assured, I will continue to be involved if only as an “armchair” politician watching attentively from the sidelines until God willing my family circumstances change.”