Ruben Ramos is a former Assemblyman from Hudson County (D-33). After a 2011 disagreement with Governor Chris Christie regarding pensions led to state Senator Brian Stack’s 2013 removal Ramos from the Assembly position he had held since 2008, Ramos entered the 2013 Hoboken mayoral race where he faced Dawn Zimmer. Though he lost the mayoral race, Ramos says he is confident that his history in Hoboken’s 4th Ward make him the right candidate to represent the neighborhood on Hoboken’s City Council.
Now, Ramos says he is focused on the things he wants to accomplish in the 4th Ward and the steps he needs to take to get things done for the ward and for Hoboken as a whole. PolitickerNJ spoke with Ramos about his goals and what he thinks sets him apart from incumbent Tim Occhipinti and fellow challenger Dana Wefer.
1. Why do you want to represent Ward 4?
First of all, I think I have a lot of experience as far as being involved in government goes. I have been an elected official for 14 years. Right now, it just seems like a lot of issues in Hoboken get left incomplete and are not finished. Looking at my track record, I think I have the know-how to get things done. I want to bring that to the 4th
2. What is it about incumbent Tim Occhipinti that you feel warrants a challenge to his seat?
I feel like I could do a better job in the City Council. You see a lot of issues in neighborhoods where people just feel like their needs aren’t being met. People want someone with common sense who can figure out ways to resolve their problems. I think that Councilman Occhipinti has let a lot of issues go unresolved and he isn’t listening to the needs of the people as much as he should be.
3. You ran for Mayor against Dawn Zimmer and Tim Occhipinti. Do you think that that history and Zimmer’s support of Dana Wefer will impact the race in any way?
I think the one thing that is important to mention about the mayor’s race is that the numbers in the election indicated that in the 4th ward I won out of all the candidates. I have lived in the ward for 31 years. I think to come out on top in terms of numbers ahead of someone who was on top says a lot about the work I have done and how residents feel about me.
Hopefully I can be successful and can earn the opportunity to work with all the council people and with the Mayor. I am not looking to rabble-rouse, I just want to hear great ideas to move Hoboken in a positive direction.
I think the main thing that sets me apart is my experience dealing with people. Everyone, whether it is good, bad or different, wants their concerns heard. That way, if things work out, great. If not, at least they can appreciate the efforts of the people who heard those concerns.
I have a common sense personality and reaching out to people means having concerns in mind. People appreciate the effort. At the end of the day I have a record to run on in Hoboken. As a 4th ward councilperson, at-large councilperson and Assembly member.
5. Explain your campaign strategy.
We will do some fundraising. We want to earn some funds to run a significant campaign and to reintroduce myself to my neighbors and remind them of my record during my 14 years as an elected official.
Of course it is also very grassroots. Right now, I am campaigning without campaigning. Every day I walk my dog and I say hi to people and just have conversations about the city, the schools, traffic, filthy streets, anything. People want to talk about these things and I am willing to listen.
6. In particular, what do you want to see happen in the 4th Ward?
The first thing I want to tackle if I am elected is to fix the driving situation on Jackson Street between Observer Highway and Newark. You get stuck on a one-lane there. That is a very fixable issue because parking was added there, making two lanes into one. I understand we need parking but a common sense solution is to have no parking there between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. I find it unconscionable that that issue exists.
Another thing I want to focus on is the issue of the Housing Authority. Residents, whether or not people are in favor of the location, need to discussed the issue moving forward. The state of the Housing Authority is not very good. Things are getting rebuilt all over Hoboken but this housing was built in the 1940s and is dilapidated. It would benefit the entire neighborhood and improve home values to make some changes. That conversation has ceased to exist over the last few years.
Also, there have been no real redevelopment projects in South West Hoboken in the past 8 years. South West Park still does not exist. We need to get these things done in a common sense way. We need to get the ball rolling.