Beleaguered Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto of Secaucus, fighting to keep his speaker’s chair in the next legislative term, and fighting to keep Hudson County Democrats relevant in state politics, today played the Latino race card against his Irish-American challenger to the post, Woodbridge Assemblyman Craig Coughlin.
Prieto issued this press release this afternoon:

“I would like to thank the Working Families Alliance, the NAACP, the Latino Action Network and all of the advocates and organizations that spoke out today on this issue. Diversity means respect and an understanding that the officials who have the privilege of leading our state should reflect the multitude of people who make New Jersey such a vibrant and exciting place. It also means championing the issues that matter to working families of all backgrounds, like raising the minimum wage, lifting families out of poverty and creating educational opportunities. That’s what I have done as Speaker and I’m honored to see that work recognized. It’s unfortunate that some do not seem to understand this, even in our Democratic Party which should pride itself on embracing progressive ideals like inclusion, diversity and opportunity.”

Yet in Hudson County, town leadership is an almost exclusive white boys’ club.
Look at all the “Anglo” (non-Hispanic) mayors.
Jersey City – Steven Fulop
Bayonne – Jimmy Davis
Union City – Brian Stack
North Bergen – Nicholas Sacco
Hoboken – Dawn Zimmer
Secaucus – Michael Gonnelli
Weehawken – Richard Turner
Harrison – James Fife
Guttenberg – Wayne Zitt
The only Latino-origin mayors are Felix Roque of West New York and Al Santos of Kearny.
However, going down one level, many commissioners in these towns are of Hispanic origin (case in point: Union City), and don’t forget Hudson County’s own (and almost tragically ignored) Latina Assemblywoman Angelica Jimenez.
The United States Census Bureau estimates that as of July 1, 2016, Hudson County’s population was just under 678,000 people. According to the Bureau’s American Community Survey’s most recent estimate in 2015, approximately 43% of Hudson County’s residents are of Hispanic or Latino origin.
Prieto has been in the State Assembly since 2004, when he took over for the late Assemblyman Anthony Impreveduto who resigned after pleading guilty to a federal felony of misuse of campaign funds.
What do you think? Do you think that Prieto, one of the state leaders of the Democratic Party in an overwhelmingly Democratic state that went heavily for Hillary Clinton last year, is the victim of discrimination? Really? After 13 years in Trenton? Or, is Prieto just the victim of someone else’s ambition?… (NB)?