GUEST OP-ED: Hispanic New Jerseyans “feel like we are all running in this race”

Sixteen years ago, I was born in Hoboken and have called Union City home for all of my life. It seems most of us are sons and daughters of immigrants from latin countries, and we likely are. Over 65,000 people with roots tracing back to so many Hispanic countries live here, but in this tight knit community, it only matters where we call home.

So when one of us lives the American Dream, we feel like we are all doing it together.

Both of my parents fled Cuba, but my father was detained by the US government and was then sent to Guantanamo Bay until he could come to America.

The first time I met Carlos Rendo was when he came to a Hudson County Teenage Republicans meeting to speak; I found out he shares a similar story to my parents. Carlos went around the room one by one introducing himself and asking where we are from. We all left that meeting inspired.

The day before Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno announced her running mate, I received a call from the same man who brought Carlos to that meeting. Chairman Jose Arango told me to meet him at Rumba Cubana the next day, but did not say why.

That is when I watched history.  That is when the Hispanic community around the state felt included in such an important time in our state’s history.  That moment was when Carlos Rendo stood behind the podium and officially became New Jersey’s first latino candidate for Lt. Governor.  That is when latinos all around the state gave up feeling like they were merely a part of the race.

Now we feel like we are all running in this race.

On the night of November 7th, my friends and I will watch Kim Guadagno and Carlos Rendo walk up on stage to give their victory speeches, and each of us will be thinking back to the first time he inspired us.

Carlos is living the American Dream and all throughout his journey to becoming our next Lt. Governor, he will have the unwavering support of this “Cubanito” from Union City, and the rest of New Jersey’s latino community.


KENNITH GONZALEZ of Union City is a senior in High School at St. Peter’s Prep in Jersey City. Gonzalez was recently awarded Outstanding Teenage Republican in the Nation, and is the statewide NJ Teenage Republican Chairman.