Poles Elected to City Council in NJ

Polish Americans helped Democrats maintain control of the state legislature in New Jersey and succeed in crucial districts in New York.

In Wallington, New Jersey, home to a sizable Polish community, two Polish Americans, Izabela Bacza (R) and Roman Kruk (D), were newly-elected as council members and longtime mayor Walter Wargacki secured another term.

Wargacki received 1,132 votes, gaining a 142 point advantage over his Republican opponent, Ken Kanter. Among the candidates for city council, Bacza got the highest number of votes (1,074), followed by Kruk (1,017). Both will serve on the city council for the next three years. Other candidates included Kevin O’Reilly (R) and Dariusz Pawluczuk (D), who received, respectively, 996 and 974 votes.

After Tuesday’s elections, in which 2,070 out of 5,091 registered voters went to the polls in Wallington, the balance of power in the city council will not change. The council will continue to be composed of three Democratic and three Republican council members, with a Democratic mayor.

Izabela Bacza

Izabela Bacza (Credit: Aleksandra Słabisz/Nowy Dziennik)

“I am glad people appreciated Izabela Bacza. She is a very smart and hard-working person who can do a lot for our town,” said Wallington Councilwoman Celina Urbankowski. “The Polish community can be proud of her.”

“Izabela sets a good example for our community. The town will benefit from her victory,” added Wallington resident Katarzyna Nowakowska.

“I am grateful for all the votes,” said Bacza, who will begin her first term as councilwoman in January. She has lived in Wallington for the past 20 years.

“It is a pity though that so many residents didn’t show up at the polls,” she said–“all the more so that many of them are not happy with the current situation in our town.

“People still don’t believe their vote counts,” she added.

The Republican campaign committee, which gathered on Tuesday night at the Wallington Exchange restaurant, voiced loud dissatisfaction with the voting results for mayor. Jolanta Polan, who has lived in Wallington for the past 20 years (since Walter Wargacki was first chosen as the town’s mayor), did not hide her discontent. “I was hoping Mr. Wargacki would not win this time. The town needs change,” she said, adding that disappointment with Wargacki’s politics was what led her to switch from being a registered Democrat to a Republican.

“There should be a term limit for mayor. Since a person can be president for only two terms, why can someone be mayor for 20 years?” Katarzyna Nowakowska asked.

“Imagine you get a new roof with a 20-year warranty on it, and after 20 years, the roof is still in good condition. Do you go ahead and replace the roof? Of course not,” said Dariusz Pawluczuk, one of the candidates for city council, and Wargacki’s running mate. “Mayor Wargacki loves our town and he works hard to make it better. A lot has changed for the better in Wallington during his terms. Streets are repaired and parks created. This is a safe town.”

He added, “If it wasn’t so, all those who voted against Mr. Wargacki would have moved out of Wallington a long time ago.”

“I am ready for the next term. I have as much energy as I did 20 years ago, when I first ran for mayor,” Wargacki told Nowy Dziennik. The mayor, who will begin his sixth term in January also said that one of his priorities in the coming months will be to stabilize taxes and reduce administrative costs.

New Jersey residents also had a chance to speak their minds in a referendum about legalizing sports betting. The majority voted in favor of legalizing sports betting in 11 casinos in Atlantic City and at state race tracks.

Preliminary results also indicate that not much will change in the state legislature in New Jersey. Democrats will continue to have control of the state senate and the assembly. Critics pointed out that after two years in power, huge popularity and millions of dollars collected for the Republican Party, Chris Christie failed to convince voters to cast their votes for his party.

Democrats in New York also won a couple of victories in the most closely watched races. Representatives of the party were chosen as county executives in Erie and Suffolk counties.

“It’s a great day for Democrats across the state. These races were a lot more about local issues, but it does demonstrate a mood shift in favor of Democrats,” State Democratic Party Chairman Jay Jacobs told one of the New York papers.

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