“Huge Win!,” says Bergenfield Fil-Am Mayor Arvin Amatorio

by Ricky Rillera

Mayor Amaatorio poses with the winning Column One ticket for a triumphant moment | Facebook photo

BERGENFIELD, NJ – Incumbent Bergenfield Mayor Arvin Amatorio, a Democrat, keeps his seat, garnering 3,174 votes without opposition in the November 7 polls. This will be his second term, which he has held since January 2020.

“I am humbled by the amount of support not just for me but for my whole team. I take it as marching orders to continue my vision for Bergenfield and the progress we started four years ago,” Amatorio told the Philippine Daily Mirror, “… and to run unopposed is a great honor because it means my constituents are happy with our governance.”

He ran with his fellow Fil-Am, councilman Marc Pascual, who won unopposed with 3,117 votes, and Domingo Almonte, who received 3,087 votes and ran for the seat vacated by Rafael Marte. Almonte was appointed to the Bergenfield Municipal Council in March 2023 to serve the unexpired term of Marte. Pascual was appointed to the council in January 2020 to serve the remaining year of Amatorio’s original council term. He was elected in 2022 and serves as the 2023 council president.

Fil-Am Buddy Deauna is also a city council member re-elected in 2022 and will serve until December 31, 2025. “With Fil-Am Councilman Buddy Deauna, the Filipino community has strong advocates and good civic and political participation in our town,” said Amatorio.

Mayor Alvin Amatorio | Facebook photo

“The next four years will continue my vision to revitalize the business district, improve sports facilities for the kids, and upgrade our infrastructure.”

In his Facebook post, he thanked his supporters. “Huge Win!” he wrote, “From the bottom of my heart and my entire team, thank you so much, Bergenfield. Bergenfield delivered a big plurality for our ticket!”

His entire Democratic team, designated as Column 1 in the ballot, swept the races: Joseph A. Lagana, state senator; Lisa Swain and Chris Tully, general assembly members; Joan M. Voss and Rafael Marte, Bergen county commissioners; Marc Pascual and Domingo Almonte, Bergenfield council members; and Fanny Cruz-Betesh, board of education member.

Amatorio, 52, is a lawyer by profession. He graduated from San Sebastian College in Manila and is the son of two public teachers from Baler, Quezon. In 2020, he took his oath of office administered by state Senator Jose Lagana, who was also re-elected state senator at this year’s elections. He succeeded Republican Norman Schmeiz, who had been mayor since 2013. Schmeiz lost to Amatorio’s 2,803 votes in the 2019 election compared to his 2,637 votes.

Related story: Bergenfield installs Mayor Amatorio, 2 other Fil-Ams hold Council seats

Before becoming mayor in 2020, he was elected councilman in 2014 and served alongside Deauna. With his background in economics, he chaired the council’s Finance committee. He drafted two municipal budgets with zero local tax increases during that time. He also worked to implement shared services agreements with other towns to lower borough expenses and save residents tax dollars.

He is the managing partner of a law firm specializing in immigration law. He and his family are active parishioners at St. John’s Church in Bergenfield.

Meanwhile, in Bayonne, New Jersey, Filipino-American candidate for District 1 Hudson County commissioner Leandro “Lindy” Lachica had a good run in his campaign to unseat his Democratic incumbent opponent, Kenneth Kopacz, who obtained 4,712 votes. Lachica received 1,578 votes. In his concession remarks, he was magnanimous, congratulating Kopacz on his reelection.

“I fully trust that the welfare and interests of everyone in our district will always be his priority,” Lachica said. “We stand ready to support efforts to ensure we all share in the progress of our county.”

He also thanked all those who supported his candidacy, saying, “I cannot thank you enough. You have shown genuine and unconditional commitment to a better, kinder, decent future for all.”

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