Steven Fulop

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Steven Fulop
Steven Fulop Ward E Councilman in Jersey City New Jersey circa 2012.jpg
49th Mayor of Jersey City
Assumed office
July 1, 2013
Preceded by Jerramiah Healy
Member of Jersey City Council representing Ward E
In office
July 1, 2005 – June 30, 2013
Preceded by E. Junior Maldonado
Succeeded by Candice Osborne
Personal details
Born Steven Michael Fulop
(1977-02-28) February 28, 1977 (age 44)
Edison, New Jersey, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Residence Jersey City, New Jersey, U.S.
Alma mater Binghamton University (B.A.)
Columbia University (M.P.A.)
New York University (M.B.A.)
Religion Judaism
Military service
Service/branch  United States Marine Corps
Years of service 2002–2006
Rank Corporal
Unit 6th Engineer Support Battalion
Battles/wars Iraq War

Steven Michael Fulop (born February 28, 1977) is the 49th and current Mayor of Jersey City, New Jersey. A Democrat, he was formerly the Councilman for Jersey City's Ward E.[1] On May 14, 2013, Fulop defeated incumbent mayor Jerramiah Healy.[2] NJ Biz and PolitickerNJ have subsequently ranked him as #20 of the top 100 influential office holders in New Jersey,[3] and in 2015 he was ranked #1 on The Hudson Reporter's annual Power List of the 50 most powerful political figures in Hudson County.[4]

Fulop assumed the office of Mayor on July 1, 2013.[5]

Early life

Fulop was born to a Jewish family in Edison, New Jersey, the son of emigrants from Romania. His father owned a delicatessen in Newark, New Jersey, where Fulop often worked, and his mother, the daughter of Holocaust survivors, worked in an immigration services office helping others gain citizenship.

Fulop graduated from Binghamton University in 1999, spending time abroad studying at Oxford University in England.[6][6] In 2006 he completed both his Masters in Business Administration at the New York University Stern School of Business and his Masters in Public Administration at Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs.,[7][8]


Finance and military service

Upon graduating from college, Fulop joined Goldman Sachs, the investment banking firm, first working in Chicago and later in downtown Manhattan and Jersey City. After seeing first hand the effects of the September 11 attacks, he decided to put his career at Goldman Sachs on hold and join the United States Marine Corps.[9]

Shortly after completion of Marine Corps boot camp, on January 14, 2003 his Reserve Unit was activated and Fulop was deployed to Iraq, where he served as part of the 6th Engineer Support Battalion for six months. He traveled into Baghdad in the early weeks of the war. The battalion focused on engineering, logistics, water purification, and fuel, part of the support infrastructure that allowed swift movement through Iraq. His unit was written about in numerous periodicals during the war, which highlighted the company's movements, their contributions to the war, and the challenges that they encountered. The New Jersey Star Ledger highlighted Fulop on several occasions as a result of his choice to leave his financial services job to serve his country.

After his service in Iraq, Fulop returned to Goldman Sachs.[10] In early 2006, he left Goldman Sachs to take a position at Sanford C. Bernstein & Co.,[11] and also completed his service to the Marine Corps Reserve with a rank of Corporal.[12]


Campaign for Congress

Fulop ran unsuccessfully for Congress in 2004 against Senator Bob Menendez who then represented New Jersey's 13th Congressional District; Fulop lost the June 8, 2004 primary election by 74.8 percentage points, 87.4%–12.6%.[13]

City Council election

In May 2005, Fulop was the winner against an incumbent councilman in Jersey City's Ward E, representing the downtown area. When Fulop was sworn into office at 28 years old, he was the youngest member of the city council by more than 17 years and the third youngest in the nearly 200-year existence of the city. However, as noted by the New York Times, the most significant difference between Fulop and every elected official in Jersey City, and most in Hudson County, is that he won the election with no establishment support, beating an incumbent with the backing of Senator Robert Menendez, Mayor Jerramiah Healy of Jersey City, and the Hudson County Democratic Organization.[9]

Fulop was outspent by more than 2-to-1 during the campaign but several tactical innovations that were highlighted in The Star-Ledger, The New York Times, and The Jersey Journal contributed to Fulop's win against stiff opposition.[9]

In May 2009, Fulop was re-elected for a second term with 63% of the vote.[14] In 2012, the Hudson Reporter named him #4 in its list of Hudson County's 50 most influential people.[15]


As a councilman, one of Fulop's main interests was ethics reform. In September 2007, he proposed legislation that would have restricted use of city vehicles and property, banned officials from holding multiple elected or appointed positions in government, instituted business and income transparency requirements for elected officials and barred people from lobbying an entity in which they serve. This legislation was rejected by a 6–1–1 vote.[16] Fulop then proposed that Jersey City voters have the opportunity to institute new ethics reform measures by voting on two referendums. The first referendum would prevent elected officials or government employees from collecting more than one taxpayer-financed salary, a practice known as double dipping. By state law, one cannot stop an individual from serving multiple government positions by popular vote, but since state law allows a municipality to hold back a paycheck and benefits if voted on by referendum, it is possible to change the pay structures at the local level to ensure that there is less incentive to collect multiple paychecks and pensions. The second referendum would make it illegal for any entity that does business with the city, such as a developer or contractor, to make a political contribution to a local candidate for a one-year period. This would prohibit those with a specific interest in controlling a singular aspect of local government from bankrolling a local elected official who may have the power to influence that specific interest.[17][18][19][20]

Political prospects

After his election to a second Council term, Fulop was expected by some to run for Mayor in 2013.[21] In 2010 a Fulop-backed slate won all three open seats for the Board of Education.[22]


On May 14, 2013, Fulop beat sitting mayor Jerramiah T. Healy by 15 percentage points, 53%–38%, to become the 49th Mayor of Jersey City, New Jersey.[1] Fulop took office on July 1, 2013 with a vision to make Jersey City the "best mid-sized city in the country".[23] Due to a healthy population growth rate combined with a significant increase in residential construction, Fulop has asserted that Jersey City will overtake Newark, New Jersey, to become the largest city in New Jersey, possibly as early as late 2016.[24]

With a reputation as a reformer during his tenure as councilman, he ran for mayor on a platform that promised to transform local government, make the city safer for residents, expand programs and services, and stabilize taxes. He also set out to make Jersey City the destination of choice, in lieu of the suburbs, for the young urbanites and new families moving from Manhattan.[25]

Within his first 100 days in office, Fulop introduced and passed legislation that merged the Police and Fire Departments as well as the Office of Emergency Management into one central department – the Department of Public Safety. This consolidation is projected to create significant savings for Jersey City by eliminating duplicative administrative costs. Fulop's newly created department was also charged with increasing diversity in both the police and fire department by revising its recruitment and retention efforts, emphasizing that members on the force should be representative of the city they serve.[26] Mayor Fulop also increased the size of the police force from 778 uniformed officers upon assuming office to a projected 840 by June 2014.[27]

In an effort to provide transparent and accessible government for the residents of Jersey City, Fulop established (through Executive Order) Jersey City’s first Citizen Public Safety Advisory Review Board. This board is charged with making programmatic, legislative, and training recommendations to improve public safety overall.[28] Acknowledging the need for local government to be more responsive to constituent’s needs, Fulop overhauled the division of government responsible for handling requests made by citizens, formerly called the "Mayor’s Action Bureau", into the "Residents Response Center", adding more representatives and expanding the hours.[29] Fulop's administration expanded the use of technology and social media for easier access and connectivity to constituent services.[30]

Fulop initiated plans to invest nearly $6 million in city parks in 2014 alone, which will triple the annual number of parks projects by renovating 13 parks throughout Jersey City and will provide funding for the accelerated construction of Berry Lane Park, an ambitious project that will ultimately transform more than 17 acres of property in to a recreational amenity in the heart of the Bergen-Lafayette community.[31]

Fulop's campaign platform included plans for revitalizing the inner city and creating an environment that would also benefit long-term residents by incentivizing development away from the waterfront and into the heart of the inner city.[25] These campaign platform promises materialized into a Tiered Tax Abatement policy, the first of its kind in Jersey City, which created a mechanism for future development into parts of Jersey City historically ignored by major developers and development projects.[32]

In an effort to revitalize the Journal Square business district of Jersey City, in February 2014 Fulop released a request for proposals for the restoration, renovation, and professional management of the historic Loew's Jersey Theatre.[33][34]

These tax abatements have not been without controversy. Jersey City residents have criticized these PILOT agreements for depriving the public schools of funds and disproportionately saddling owners of non-PILOTed property with local taxes. [1] Republicans from outside of Jersey City have criticized Fulop for these PILOT agreements since PILOTed buildings do not pay school taxes and thus sustain an artificially high level of state aid. [2]

In 2011, Jersey City was ranked by Atlantic Magazine as the 10th most artistic city in America,[35] and ranked Jersey City the second most diverse city in the United States.[36] Jersey City hosted both Super Bowl XLVIII teams.[37] Fulop launched a branding campaign with the goal of making Jersey City a premier destination for work and play.[38]

The Fulop administration’s first municipal budget, presented and introduced in March 2014, reduced property taxes by 2.1 percent and provided the City Council flexibility to reduce taxes even further – up to 5.6 percent. This budget not only reflects the largest total investment in the Department of Recreation for Jersey City within the last five years and the largest percent increase in funding since 1999, but allocates the largest investment in parks in decades.[39][40] He launched a Jersey City Mural Arts Program, which has facilitated the painting of dozens of murals throughout Jersey City that reflect the diverse communities found within the city.[41] Fulop launched a new prisoner re-entry program within the expanded Jersey City Employment and Training Program (JCETP) under the leadership of former New Jersey Governor Jim McGreevey. The Jersey City Employment and Training Program has received State and Federal funding and is the strongest program of its kind in New Jersey.[42]

In September 2013 (within three months of assuming office), Mayor Fulop passed a bill requiring paid sick leave for employees in Jersey City. This legislation makes Jersey City the first city in New Jersey and the sixth city nationally to pass this type of legislation. Fulop aggressively advocated for this policy and worked with the municipal council for its passage citing it as a basic human dignity issue that builds upon the principle that a healthy employee is a more productive employee. The legislation garnered national attention and cemented his reputation as a progressive leader and supporter of working families.[43][44]

Community service and advocacy

Prior to his election on the municipal council, Steven Fulop served as president of the Downtown Coalition of Neighborhood Associations (DCNA) in Jersey City, and as president of The Historic Paulus Hook Association.[13][45][46] He has served on the boards of the Columbia University Alumni Association[47] and the Learning Community Charter School in Jersey City.[48] In 2010, he led grassroots and local government efforts to oppose the construction of a gas pipeline through downtown Jersey City.[49]

Since his election, he has worked for local charities in Hudson County. He donated his first two-year council salary to the York Street Project, a non-profit that helps women and children break the cycle of poverty.[45] Most recently, in 2006, Fulop tied his passion for long distance running with his civic involvement by racing in the New York City Marathon to raise money for the Hudson County Child Abuse Prevention Center. Fulop raised $16,000 running his first marathon in 3:44 with an average pace of 8:33 per mile.[47]

Fulop is a member of Mayors Against Illegal Guns Coalition.[50]

Election history

Jersey City Mayoral Election, May 14, 2013[51]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Steven Fulop 20,983 52.94
Democratic Jerramiah Healy (incumbent) 14,931 37.67
Independent Jeremiah Walker 3,290 8.30
Independent Abdul J. Malik 407 1.03
Other Personal Choice 28 0.07
Majority 6,052 15.27% -11.41%
Turnout 39,639 28.54% +3.07%
Democratic hold
Jersey City Ward E Council election, May 12, 2009[52]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Steve Fulop (incumbent) 1,987 61.03
Democratic Guy Catrillo 767 23.56
Democratic Jaime Vazquez 269 8.26
Democratic Joseph J. Tarrazi 181 5.56
Democratic Azam A. Riaz 51 1.57
Total votes 3,256 100.00
Jersey City Ward E Council election, May 10, 2005[53]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Steve Fulop 2,165 54.58
Democratic E. Junior Maldonado (incumbent) 1,802 45.42
Total votes 3,967 100.00
U.S. House of Representatives Democratic Primary, New Jersey's 13th Congressional District, June 8, 2004[54]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Bob Menendez (incumbent) 33,622 87.39
Democratic Steve Fulop 4,851 12.61
Total votes 38,473 100.00

See also

New Jersey portal



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External links

Political offices
Preceded by
E.Junior Maldonado
Ward E Councilman of Jersey City, New Jersey
July 1, 2005 – June 30, 2013
Succeeded by
Candice Osborne
Preceded by
Jerramiah Healy
Mayor of Jersey City
July 1, 2013–present
Succeeded by