Kids Corner


Ravi Singh Bhalla Conquers Bigotry,
Elected Hoboken / New Jersey’s Mayor





City Councilman Ravinder 'Ravi' Singh Bhalla has emerged victorious in the six-person mayoral race, becoming the first Sikh mayor of the Mile Square City -- and in the state of New Jersey, USA.

Ravi, a Sikh-American born in New Jersey, was endorsed by current Mayor Dawn Zimmer, who in a surprising decision announced she would not seek a third term in office.

Ravi, who serves on the City Council, claimed the victory at Moran's Pub on Garden Street surrounded by dozens of his supporters, as well as his friends and family.

"Thank you for having faith in me, for having faith in our community, faith in our state, and faith in our country; this is what America is all about," he told the packed bar. "We've been through a bruising campaign ... but now is the time we come together and see who we can work with to bring this city forward."

He bested a six-person field of challengers that included council members Michael DeFusco and Jennifer Giattino, as well as Hudson County Freeholder Anthony Romano.

In the race for three at-large seats on the City Council, two members of Ravi's slate -- James Doyle and Emily Jabbour -- were victorious, while DeFusco team member Vanessa Falco was also elected, according to the unofficial election results.

The race for City Hall took a turn this week when doctored campaign fliers began circulating attacking Ravi with the message "Don't let TERRORISM take over our town!" above a picture of the Sikh mayoral candidate wearing a turban.

The wide-open campaign that kicked off in June with Zimmer's announcement quickly turned into heated race, with Romano's campaign manager, Pablo Fonseca, calling the race "ugly" and "divisive."

The fliers appeared to have been a modified version of a mailer from DeFusco's campaign, alleging Ravi had a conflict of interest. The councilman condemned the fliers in a statement, saying his campaign had nothing to do with them.

Hoboken police released video footage last week showing two unidentified "persons of interest" holding stacks of papers, presumably the fliers.

Phil Swibinski, a campaign spokesman for DeFusco, said DeFusco conceded defeat in a speech to supporters at his campaign headquarters at around 10 p.m. on Tuesday, November 7, 2017 and offered his congratulations to Ravi Singh.

[Courtesy: The Jersey Journal. NJ Advance Media reporter Steve Strunsky contributed to this report. Edited for]

November 8, 2017


Conversation about this article

1: Pardeep Singh Nagra (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), November 08, 2017, 1:30 PM.

Ravi has a long history of community involvement and has worked tirelessly both for the Sikh community in America through the Sikh Coalition, and his local community in New Jersey. Congratulations. He will serve his constituents well.

2: Harpreet Singh (Delhi, india), November 08, 2017, 1:50 PM.

Congratulations and best wishes. Pray that you can accomplish the goals for which people elected you. Nice to see that you are a saabat soorat gursikh.

3: Sandeep Singh Brar (Canada), November 08, 2017, 3:29 PM.

I can't think of a more intelligent representative of Sikhs at their best in United States politics. I've known Ravi since 9/11 as we worked together on the team setting up the Sikh Coalition. I worked with him on his first campaign as a Hoboken councillor. Over the years on the city council Ravi has proven over and over again that he was a champion of the people of the city and cared and worked on their concerns. He proved that he was a genuine politician and not 'fake' or in it just for the glory, the power or the money. I'm so happy that the voters of Hoboken were also able to see the brilliant mind under his turban. What a great representative of the best of the panth he is and will continue to be as mayor of Hoboken.

4: Sarvjit Singh (Millis, Massachusetts, USA), November 09, 2017, 9:26 AM.

I believe this is the second time in USA that a turbaned Sikh won a public election at state level with national coverage. (The first was when S. Satyendra Singh Huja was Mayor of Charlottesville, Virginia, not once but twice! Quite recently. Other Sikhs have before been elected Mayors in the US in Virginia, Laurel Hollow, New York, San Joaquin City, California, and other cities.) Hoboken, Frank Sinatra's hometown, was a different place 25 years ago. Sikhs and other immigrants used to avoid the dark areas, late night restaurants, train stops, etc. And now, a Sikh is a Mayor! This proves USA does change and hope that there are more Guru's Sikhs who can thus contribute to nation building in American society.

5: Paramjit Singh Attariwala (Victoria, British Columbia ), November 09, 2017, 8:34 PM.

Good write-up about Ravi Singh Bhalla.

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