The death was a shock to public officials in every corner of Hudson County.
“He was a true gentleman,” said Assemblyman Jason O’Donnell. “He was among the best in this business.”
McDonough was mayor of a small town on the western side of Hudson County, but exerted a huge influence on decision made countywide.
“He had a tremendous impact on Harrison,” said a very saddened Paul Swibinki, founder of Vision Media consulting. “I remember what Harrison was before became mayor, and what it became. He is leaving a legacy beyond that he can be proud of.”
In some ways, Harrison has become a new Gold Coast of Hudson County, region that is benefiting from the renaissance of nearby Newark as well as its PATH connection to Jersey City and New York.
“He was a regular guy,” Swibinski said. “He was able to identify with the average man.”
McDonough was elected mayor in 1995 after serving on the town council for 17 years.
He was instrumental in formulating the Harrison Waterfront Development Plan which hoped to capitalize on its location along the Passaic River and station for the PATH. He also oversaw the development of Red Bull Arena, a soccer stadium.
Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto released the following statement on the death of Harrison Mayor Ray McDonough:
"Ray McDonough was a great friend to so many of us throughout Hudson County and an extremely strong advocate for the town of Harrison. He always stood up for the middle class and working men and women and had a great deal of integrity and compassion. He will be greatly missed and I would like to extend my deepest condolences to his family and the town of Harrison."
North Bergen Mayor and State Senator Nick Sacco (D-Hudson) released the following statement on the death of Harrison Mayor Ray McDonough:
"I worked with Mayor McDonough very closely as the Senator representing his town over the last twenty years and he was one of the most dedicated public servants I have ever met. He always put Harrison first and did whatever he could to make his home town a better place. He will be deeply missed."
Even Republic Gov. Christopher Christie, who McDonough (a Democrat) endorsed last year, called McDonough “a genuine, kind-hearted soul,” who loved his home down and his people.