HCDO Assembly picks not shoo-ins
Democratic candidates plug education, transportation, and working-class rights
by Joseph Passantino
Reporter staff writer
Apr 15, 2015 | 3004 views | 0 0 comments | 77 77 recommendations | email to a friend | print
LISTENING UP – Assembly candidate Nicholas Chiaravalloti (center) was all ears when it came to hearing supporters’ issues and concerns at his meet and greet.
LISTENING UP – Assembly candidate Nicholas Chiaravalloti (center) was all ears when it came to hearing supporters’ issues and concerns at his meet and greet.
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MAKING A POINT – Chiaravalloti running mate Angela McKnight of Jersey City speaks to an attendee at the Mona Lisa restaurant.
MAKING A POINT – Chiaravalloti running mate Angela McKnight of Jersey City speaks to an attendee at the Mona Lisa restaurant.
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SHOWING SUPPORT – Dozens of 31st District constituents crowded into the Mona Lisa, between 5th and 6th streets.
SHOWING SUPPORT – Dozens of 31st District constituents crowded into the Mona Lisa, between 5th and 6th streets.
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TALKING IT UP – Democratic Party strategist John Minella talks with Angela McKnight spokesman Eugene McKnight.
TALKING IT UP – Democratic Party strategist John Minella talks with Angela McKnight spokesman Eugene McKnight.
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The Hudson County Democratic Organization (HCDO) 31st District Assembly candidates Nicholas Chiaravalloti of Bayonne—Mayor Davis’s pick—and Angela McKnight of Jersey City held their first team meet-and-greet event in Bayonne on April 8, and although they are the anointed party-line candidates, they received a message that the campaign will not be a cakewalk.

Outside the event held in the DaVinci Room of the Mona Lisa Pizzeria and Restaurant, a dozen or more supporters of one of their opponents, Bruce Alston of Jersey City, held up 11-by-14 inch signs promoting their candidate. Washington Flores of Bayonne is running with Alston, challenging McKnight and Chiaravalloti.

Alston and Flores backer Patrick Desmond said he and others on their campaign were peeved that the Chiaravalloti event was held at the Mona Lisa, right across the street from the nonprofit Bayonne Initiative office, where many of that ticket’s supporters gather.

But inside the Mona Lisa, HCDO line supporters were not concerned about the effect the mild protest would have on their candidates and their following. One noted that while the sign holders touted Alston for Assembly, he had not seen even one holding a sign mentioning Flores, who is a Bayonne resident.

Dozens of attendees crammed inside the restaurant to speak with Chiaravalloti and McKnight, including Davis and other city officials.

Chiaravalloti, an administrator at St. Peter’s University in Jersey City, said that if elected one of his priorities in Trenton would be education, including securing more funding from the state for the Bayonne School District, one of the most underfunded in the state. Transportation would also be high on his list, including the possible creation of a commuter ferry from Bayonne to New York City, and assuring that the Bayonne Bridge reconstruction continues according to plan.

“Transportation, education; those are the key issues,” Chiaravalloti said, “and bringing monies back to Bayonne.”

Chiaravalloti said he would now begin knocking on doors and talking to voters.

Supporters’ words

Former Democratic freeholder candidate Rafael Augusto agreed with Chiaravalloti that education was one of the key issues facing Bayonne.

“When people move to a city, you know they want a great school system,” he said.

Dot Roszkowski was at the Mona Lisa supporting Chiaravalloti for a personal reason.

“He’s got a heart of gold,” she said. “He’s got strong attributes. He’s going to stand up for what’s right.”


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“Transportation, education; those are the key issues.” – Nicholas Chiaravalloti

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Angela McKnight

McKnight, head of the non-profit AngelaCares, through press secretary Eugene McKnight (an uncle through marriage) said she wants to be a voice for those in her district who believe they do not have one.

Eugene McKnight said his candidate would fight for the rights of the working class, veterans, men and women coming out of prison, and others.

“Angela is running because there’s been a void in government at the state level,” he said.

The Democratic and Republican primaries are on June 2.

Joseph Passantino may be reached at JoePass@hudsonreporter.com.To comment on this story online visit www.hudsonreporter.com.

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