“It’s becoming more and more important for regular citizens to get off the sidelines,” Ravi Bhalla, Hoboken's newly-elected mayor, told Cheddar on Monday. Just last Tuesday he became the first Sikh to be elected to the office in the state of New Jersey.
Prior to his victory, flyers that read “don’t let terrorism take over our town,” saturated his city. But Bhalla believes that Hoboken is not a city of hate, and the citizens showed that at the polls.
“That I’m sitting here talking to y’all as the first Sikh mayor is evidence of that fact,” he said. “The response of the poll was, ‘we don’t accept that type of conduct here in Hoboken.’”
But last Tuesday’s election represents an era in which people want to have their voices heard, a year that will go down in history as a time where people stood up to President Donald Trump, Bhalla said.
The two-term Hoboken City Councilman is not the only one to make history in the 2017 elections. Journalist Danica Roem, for example, became the first openly transgender person elected to the state house of Virginia, unseating a 13-term incumbent.
Bhalla, who’s lived in Hoboken for 17 years, remains hopeful that constituents can carry that spirit beyond this election season and effort change throughout the rest of President Trump’s tenure.
“I am hopeful that every time policies come out of the Trump administration that are inimical to our rights as Americans, that, that would further and further get more people more activated and involved,” Bhalla said.