Two incumbents, two newcomers running for Kearny council

The Kearny Democratic Party recently announced a full slate for the Town Council seats that will be on the ballot in the June 2022 primary election.  

Incumbents Peter Santana (Second Ward) and Eileen Eckel (Third Ward) are joined by newcomers George Zapata (First Ward) and Stathis Theodoropoulos (Fourth Ward).  

Kearny Mayor Alberto G. Santos, who was re-elected to office last year, endorsed the ticket, noting, “We are very fortunate to have four highly qualified candidates who can serve the residents of Kearny with the utmost professionalism and integrity.”

For purposes of choosing its local government representatives, the Town of Kearny is districted into four wards with two  council representatives from each ward.  

The terms of office are staggered so that only half the Council runs for office in an election cycle.

Santana has been serving on the Town Council since 2017.  He is the Chairman of the Police Committee and is a member of the Town Recreation Committee.  He is employed as the Director of Technology for the Harrison school district and resides on Davis Avenue with his wife Renata and son Liam.

Eckel has been serving on the Town Council since 2005.  She is the Chairwoman of the Kearny Fire Committee and serves as the Council liaison to the Kearny Library Board of Trustees.  She is employed as an educator in the Fair Lawn school district and resides on Rutherford Place with her husband Tom.

Zapata serves as the Vice President of the Kearny Board of Education and is a Commissioner on the Kearny Municipal Utilities Authority.  

A graduate of Kearny High School and Rutgers University in New Brunswick, where he majored in political science and economics, he is employed as a paralegal.  

George resides on Woodland Avenue.

Stathis “Stat” Theodoropoulos is also a graduate of Kearny High School and Rutgers University in New Brunswick, where he studied environmental and business economics.  He is the founder and principal of a successful business, Firefly Lighting, and is a member of the NJ Hellenic Heritage Commission and Chamber of Commerce.  

He grew up on Elm Street and now lives on Beech Street.

Santos says he’s disappointed Councilmembers Albino Cardoso in the First Ward and Susan McCurrie in the Fourth Ward opted not to run for re-election for personal reasons. 

“Albino and Susan were instrumental to our record of achievement.  They will remain involved in local government but in less active roles,” the mayor said. “They will also assist George Zapata and Stathis Theodoropoulos in their runs for office to ensure residents continue to have effective representation at Town Hall.”

The deadline to file petitions was Monday, April 4, at 5 p.m. At presstime, the four aforementioned candidates were the only Democrats to file for the seats in Kearny.

However, Sydney J. Ferreira, who ran unsuccessfully mayor last year, announced just this week he intends to seek the seat McCurrie currently occupies ­— in November.

“By running in the Democratic primary last year, I was asking my independent and Republican friends and neighbors to throw aside their deep-rooted ideologies and party affiliations in favor of my own. How could I ask others to do something that I was unwilling to do myself?” Ferreira wrote in a letter to The Observer.  

“Therefore, I have decided that this time around, in the spirit of unity and to demonstrate my willingness to work with everyone, I will set aside my own party affiliation. I will run for the Fourth Ward Council Seat now occupied by Councilwoman Susan McCurrie, as an independent candidate, in the general election, in November.”

Ferreira’s full letter may be seen here.

Learn more about the writer ...

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.