Jersey City Fil-Ams Rally Behind Incumbents at ‘Pulongbayan’

Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop speaks with Team Fulop behind him. The city council candidates in attendance include, from left to right, Jermaine Robinson, Moriah “Mo” Kinberg, John Hanussak, Mira Prinz-Arey and Rolando Lavarro. (Photo by Amira Allahh via Philippine Daily Mirror)

A Pulongbayan, or town meeting, organized by Jersey City Councilman-at Large Rolando R. Lavarro Jr., brought out members of the local Filipino community, who rallied for the re-election of the Filipino-American member of the council and Mayor Steven Fulop. Both Philippine Mirror and Filipino Reporter covered the campaign event, during which voters were encouraged to choose the entire slate of “Team Fulop” candidates, some of whom also attended, on Nov. 7.

Philippine Daily Mirror writes:

In his remarks, Fulop noted that the Filipino community had the power to influence the outcome of the elections and that they should apply it.

“You have the strength of the Filipino vote if it were used collectively,” he said. (…)

Some 15,000 to 20,000 Filipinos live in Jersey City.

The article goes into detail on Lavarro, the city council president who after winning a special election in November 2011 became Jersey City’s first Filipino and Asian-American member of the council. The son of Filipino doctors who immigrated to the U.S. in the late 1960s, Lavarro grew up in Jersey City and has been instrumental in efforts to increase the minimum wage and labor rights. He also established the first Immigrant Affairs Commission in New Jersey.

In its story on the event, Filipino Reporter reports:

The Pulongbayan was highlighted by positive testimonies of three Fil-Am community leaders about Lavarro, both as a person and as a public servant, speeches by the candidates, line dancing, and delicious Filipino foods donated by local Pinoy restaurants.

The publication also covered a fundraiser for Mayor Bill de Blasio’s re-election, where first lady Chirlane McCray addressed some 50 supporters including Filipino Americans. Also in attendance was Loida Nicolas Lewis, the chair of US Pinoys for Good Governance, who praised the mayor for including members of the community in his cabinet.

“Mayor Bill de Blasio is the only New York Mayor who appointed three Filipino-Americans to his cabinet.”

Carmelyn P. Malalis serves as Chair and Commissioner of the New York City Commission on Human Rights; Maria Torres-Springer is President of NYC Economic Development Corporation; and Minerva Tantoco was appointed NYC Chief Technology Officer.

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