PERTH AMBOY – Mayor Joseph Vas will face two challengers in his re-election bid this year.
Voters will choose between Vas, community activist Wilda Diaz and businessman Israel Varela in the May 13 non-partisan election.
Vas, 53, has been Perth Amboy’s mayor for the past 18 years. He said he’s committed to seeing certain plans become reality, including the I-Port 440 project, redevelopment of the old Celetrex property and completion of the High Street/Route 440 Connector Road Project. He also serves in the New Jersey Assembly since 2004.
Diaz, 44, said she decided to run because of the rising cost of the city’s community, court and public safety complex on New Brunswick Avenue and the need to have a full-time mayor who serves only the city. She recently resigned as an assistant vice president and branch manager for an Elizabeth bank to run for the mayor’s seat and has worked in banking for more than 20 years.
Varela, who ran for City Council four years ago, said he wants a change for Perth Amboy. “I will be focused on the people of Perth Amboy and what I can do for my community,” he said. Varela said he will support a two consecutive term limit for mayors and place a $20,000 cap on municipal campaign spending. He owns an auto body business in the city.
Voters will also be able to choose from five candidates running for two City Council seats.
Councilman David Szilagyi and Board of Education member Joel Pabon are running with Vas on the Perth Amboy First slate. Fernando Gonzalez, who works in real estate, and Kenneth Balut, a retired city police officer, are running on the United for Change slate with Diaz. Community activist Maria Garcia is running by herself with the slogan An Independent Voice for Perth Amboy.
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