Baler, Aurora native Arvin Gomez Amatorio won the mayoralty race of Bergenfield in Bergen County, New Jersey on Tuesday, making the immigration lawyer the second mayor of Filipino descent to lead the town nearly 20 years after Robert Rivas was chief executive.
Atty. Amatorio, running under the banner of the Democratic Party, is up for a 4-year term after notching 2,803 votes to wrest the post from incumbent Republican mayor Norman Schmelz who registered 2,637 votes during the elections held November 5th (November 6 in Ph). Fellow Filipino-American Salvador “Buddy” Deauna was re-elected councilman in the same elections.
Amatorio credited the win to his supporters and their fight against racist attacks, saying, “This is a great night for Bergenfield because of you… despite the malicious attack, despite the negativity that has been thrown to us we kept the fight positive.”
Born in the Philippines to two public school teachers, his father Librado Angara Amatorio and mother Sonia Gomez-Amatorio, the 48-year-old Arvin Amatorio moved to the United States with wife Ilya Evangelista-Amatorio just towards the end of Mayor Rober Rivas’ term in 2002.
Amatorio’s legal education began in some of the best law schools in Manila, his Economics pre-law at San Juan de Letran, a year at San Sebastian College, transferring to San Beda College, and finally finishing his law course at San Sebastian College.
When he moved to the U.S., Arvin Amatorio worked as a teacher-instructor at the American Center for Career Training and at the Inter-Borough College where he taught law-related subjects while he reviewed and prepared to take the New York Bar Exam.
Arvin Amatorio passed the New York Bar Examination in February 2006 and has since practiced immigration law in the United States, helping other hard-working families live the American Dream.
Arvin and Ilya with their two sons, Lance and Andrew, moved to Bergenfield and started his law practice, Amatorio Law.
The new mayor of Bergenfield was elected as a Councilman in 2014 with a legislative career marked by leading the Finance Committee to successfully prepare the town’s budget and acquiring grants that stopped the raising of property taxes for two consecutive years.
Over 5,000 Filipinos comprise the biggest ethnic group in Bergenfield’s 27,000 population. Arvin Amatorio will officially begin leading Bergenfield as its new mayor on January 2020.
Mayor Arvin Amatorio is the newest addition to the growing number of Filipinos making their mark in public service around the world.
Earlier this year in May, Paolo Garcia became the first KiwiNoy Member of Parliament in New Zealand. MP Garcia spoke Filipino in his maiden statement, which was met with cheers from Kiwi-Pinoys who sang a Tagalog song inside the Parliament. MP Paolo Garcia champions diversity, family, and youth welfare in New Zealand.
Also in May, nurse Danny Favor became the first Filipino United Kingdom town mayor.
Carmen Legarda also made a mark as the first Filipina UK Member of Parliament candidate.
SEND congratulations in the comments below to Arvin Amatorio and his team for their historic win in New Jersey!
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