Activist: Hudson County Democrats' silence about council member's hit-and-run highlights power of group
Silence from some Hudson County Democrats about a hit-and-run involving a Jersey City council member is bringing new attention to the power of the organization.
Bicyclist Andrew Black ran a red light and was hit by Councilwoman Amy DeGise. She then left the scene.
DeGise was issued a summons for the incident. She has not issued a comment yet about it.
There are calls for her to resign for leaving the scene of that accident.
Progressive activist Hector Oseguera took on the Hudson County Democratic machine in 2020 for Congress and lost. After the hit-and-run crash involving DeGise, he says the powerful organization is working as it's designed.
“You see the system, you see these people sort of corral around one another, and help each other to minimize the damage,” Oseguera says.
Councilwoman DeGise's father Tom DeGise is Hudson County Executive and has been in office for nearly 20 years.
“Even though he's the king, he's responsible to the true kings, who are the 12 mayors of Hudson County. Now some mayors are more powerful than others,” Oseguera says.
The mayors include Union City Mayor Brian Stack, who also serves as a state senator, and in Hudson County's largest municipality, Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop.
“I often allude the machine to a Mafia-like system, because No. 1, you're not supposed to admit that this thing even exists,” Oseguera says. “Someone like Bob Menendez certainly is a part of the system but has now graduated to be more powerful than the system itself.”
Sen. Menendez rose from mayor of Union City to Congress to Senate. In June, his son easily won a Democratic primary for Congress.
Oseguera dubs the older Menendez, “the Boss of Bosses.”
He adds, “When he does or says things, they follow suit whether they like it or not. Installing his son as a congressman is one example.”
Jersey City Councilman James Solomon is one of the few outliers calling for DeGise to resign.
“Most members of the public would say, if that was them on video and involved in a hit-and-run, would they be treated the same way. And that's why we need accountability,” he says.
Fulop has said DeGise shouldn't have left the scene, but has stopped short of calling on her to resign.