1. Nicholas Sacco, Senator & Mayor
It comes as no surprise that Senator/Mayor Nicholas Sacco comes in as #1 on the HudPost Power Ranking list. Starting his public career as an educator and elected to the board of commissioners in the late 1980s, the 70 year old is the longest serving Mayor in North Bergen history.
While it’s clear that his Senate seat is quite secure - his mayoral title will be contested by the Wainstein/Marrero team, but that is two years away.
2. Anthony Vainieri, Freeholder
Business owner and Sacco’s Chief of Staff/Legislative aide was elected to the Board of Chosen Freeholders in 2014, when former Freeholder Thomas Liggio announced his retirement. No word if he will have an opponent in his upcoming re-election race. He confirmed his intent to run by announcing a fundraiser with Governor hopeful, Phil Murphy, for February 3rd. Vainieri received 5,108 votes in his first election and stands a good chance of being reelected.
The Freeholder was just elected by his peers to become the new Chairman of the Board of Freeholders. Vainieri is also the Chairman of the Board of Adjustments.
3. Robert Dowd, Police Chief
In 2016 Chief “Bob” Dowd was invited to the White House to meet with the members of the President's senior staff to discuss aspects of the President's Task Force on 21st Century Policing. Dowd became President of the Hudson County Chiefs of Police Association. The association offers consultation to policymakers and the County Prosecutor on issues that affect the quality of life for Hudson County citizens.
Dowd was designated an Accredited Chief Executive, Chief of Police, Advanced by the New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police. This is the highest level of accreditation a police chief can hold in NJ, and currently Dowd is the only Chief of Police in Hudson County to hold this accredited status.
4. Paul Swinbiski President of Vision Media
Paul is the owner of Vision Media and brings over 25 years of experience in political arena. The company’s clients include US Congressman Albio Sires, County Executive Tom Degise, and every department of the North Bergen township.
Vision Media continues to dominate the public relations market for most municipalities in Hudson County.
The company was recently awarded for two political ads and is responsible for the viral “I be from North Bergen, son!” campaign.
5. Phil Swinbiski & Juan Pablo Escobar, Township Spokesmen
Son of Paul Swibinski, Phil is the spokesperson for the town and Vice President of Vision Media. He is the go-to person for public relations crises.
Adding Army National Guardsman and North Bergen HS Alumni, Juan Escobar, gives the company access to the changing demographics of the town.
6. Julio Marenco, Commissioner
He’s North Bergen’s newest and youngest commissioner, giving the board of commissioners a 3:2 ratio of Latinos. Marenco served as Sacco’s intern before becoming President of the Board of Education. He replaced the first woman commissioner, Theresa Ferrera, and became the youngest commissioner in North Bergen history in 2015.
Marenco also serves as a member of the New Jersey state parole board.
He is the “hip” commissioner who regularly uses Facebook to speak to his constituents and even advised his followers to “Netflix and chill” during a snowstorm.
7. John Heinis, Political Correspondent
Former reporter for the Jersey Journal & HudsonCountyTV.com, who left to start his own media company, Hudson County View. Heinis has proven to be a reputable and respected source of North Bergen news.
8. Larry Wainstein, Business Owner
You’ve probably received a letter, call, or knock on the door from, millionaire business owner, Larry Wainstein. He’s seen as the Mayor’s arch-enemy and came closest to dethroning the incumbent.
Although, Wainstein lost in 2015, recieving 4,900 votes, he continues to keep his office open on Kennedy Boulevard. Teaming up with Marrero has been seen as a reinforcement strategy, before challenging Mayor Sacco again.
9. Henry Marrero, Police Sgt.
Once seen as the Mayor’s right hand man turned independent, Marrero unsuccessfully ran against Sacco backed candidate, Freeholder Anthony Vainieri, receiving 1,062 votes.
He used the support from his Freeholder’s election to run for commissioner, branding himself as the ethical alternative to Sacco and Wainstein.
He received 589 votes in election but now has been seen attending multiple parades and political gatherings with Wainstein. No confirmation if he will seek the Freeholder’s seat again or work with Larry for the 2019 race.
10. Denis Jaslow, Community Organizer
Creator and administrator of “North Bergen Now, Then, & Memories….” Facebook page that has over 9,400+ followers. Jaslow has created a platform for North Bergen residents, old and new, to come together and share love for their town.
Honorable Mention: Allen Pascual, Commissioner. Hugo Cabrera, Commissioner. Edgar Santillan, Political Operative. Dr. George Solter, Superintendent of Schools.