A SOLEMN OATH — Del Russo replaces Pronti on N.A. Council

When Daniel Pronti became North Arlington’s mayor in November, having succeeded the late Mayor Joseph Bianchi, he knew he would have to give up his vote and council seat once he took office.

And, that opening was filled last week when the Borough Council voted 5-0, across party lines, to appoint real estate agent and NJ Turnpike Authority Supervisor Kirk Del Russo to the seat effective immediately.

The local GOP County Committee submitted three names to the council — as is tradition when a seat becomes vacant. And it was ultimately Del Russo who got the nod.

While this becomes Del Russo’s first foray into elected office, it’s not the first time he sought office.

In 2011, the Republican ran for council along with Gary R. Burns against Councilman Mark Yampaglia and former Councilman and now Freeholder Steven A. Tanelli. The two Democrats won that year, but Del Russo fell just 52 votes shy — with 1,367 votes to Yampaglia’s 1,419 — of garnering one of the two open seats.

So when Pronti’s former seat opened up, it made sense for Del Russo to throw his name into the ring to replace him.

“I’ve lived my entire life in the borough — I am 59-years-old — and I really wanted to be involved,” Del Russo said. “I also spent time as the municipal (GOP) chair.”

And he was involved in a lot more, too. In 1989, Del Russo was a founding member of the North Arlington Redevelopment Commission. He also was a co-founder of the Meadowlands Investment Club along with a few others. They were a group of investors who did “very well” over the years.

For 28 years, Del Russo ran a family business — Kirk’s Transmissions.

But the new councilman is now ready to get down to business and to continue the “work that began” under the late Mayor Bianchi and now with Mayor Pronti.

“The mayor has assembled a fantastic team,” Del Russo said. “I’ve always wanted to be part of the solution, not part of the problem. My roots are here. I want to see the borough prosper. I’ll always put North Arlington first — and I am thrilled to be part of this team.”

So just how has the GOP continued to prosper in this relatively small community that’s surrounded by Democratic strongholds?

There’s a simple answer, Del Russo says.

“The Republican Club here is very strong,” he said. “There are a lot of young people who are getting involved and that is all thanks to the mayor. The enthusiasm is strong — and so many want to get on board with Mayor Pronti because they see the direction we’re going.”

Del Russo is married and has two daughters and two step-daughters. A realtor since 1989, he works part-time for Century 21 Semiao & Associates out of its Lyndhurst office selling properties in addition to his work with the NJ Turnpike Authority.

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Kevin A. Canessa Jr. is the editor of and broadcaster at The Observer, a place where he has served on and off since 2006. He is responsible for the editorial content of the newspaper and website, the production of the e-Newspaper, writing several stories per week (including the weekly editorial), conducting live broadcasts on Facebook Live, including a weekly recap of the news — and much more behind the scenes. Between 2006 and 2008, he introduced the newspaper to its first-ever blog — which included podcasts, audio and video. Originally from Jersey City, Kevin lived in Kearny until 2004, lived in Port St. Lucie. Florida, for four years until February 2016 and in March of that year, he moved back to West Hudson to return to The Observer full time. Click Here to send Kevin an email.