PERTH AMBOY — A distinguished record of 36 years of service to the community will be celebrated as residents honor Councilman Fernando Gonzalez with a testimonial dinner on July 27 at the ZPA Hall on Grace Street.
Tickets may be obtained by calling 1-631-629-6712 by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by making arrangements with one of the host committee members.
Gonzalez was one of Perth Amboy’s civil rights pioneers during the early 1970s, when the growing Latino population was largely ignored by the entrenched political machine that ruled the city.
In 1976, Gonzalez made an unsuccessful bid for city council but he came back the following year to win the first of three consecutive terms on the Board of Education.
Gonzalez, who is a licensed real estate broker, also served several stints on the city’s planning board and chaired the Perth Amboy Housing Authority before he was ultimately elected Councilman in 2008.
In each of his public offices and in an array of private and non-profit ventures Gonzalez has made lasting contributions to the city and its people. For example, he was among the founding members of the Puerto Rican Association for Human Development (PRAHD), which operates 16 programs offering social services for more than 17,000 people each year throughout central New Jersey.
As a school board member, Gonzalez battled to overcome systemic racism and bigotry. He won improved quality for students by including effective English as a Second Language courses in the curriculum, as well as by breaking down barriers that precluded qualified Hispanic job applicants from being hired.
As Housing Authority chairman, Gonzalez led the way to tear down aging high rise projects and replace them with safer, more attractive town home style developments, in addition to building residences for much of the city’s senior population.
In his capacity as an arbiter of land use regulation, Gonzalez was responsible for approving billions of dollars worth of development projects that created good jobs for local residents.
Since his election to the City Council in 2008, Gonzalez has sought to hold Mayor Wilda Diaz accountable for her campaign promises, opposing tax increases, voting against residency waivers for high paid administrators and advocating an end to public employee double-dipping at taxpayer expense.
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