CASE STUDY | Economic Development & Enterprise

LNJ 2011
Rolando Lavarro, Jersey City Council President

Rolando Lavarro was born and raised in Jersey. He was first elected to city council in 2011, was reelected in 2013 as Councilman-at-Large, and subsequently became Council President for the City of Jersey City. He has spent most of his life as a Public Servant and has worked in the nonprofit, governmental and academic sectors. Council President Lavarro first heard about Lead-New Jersey when he worked as an aide to New Jersey State Senator, Robert Gordon (D), who was Assemblyman at the time. Senator Gordon went through one of the inaugural classes of Lead-NJ and Rolando heard about Lead-New Jersey again while working as a Director in the Grants Office of New Jersey City University, where the Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs (LNJ 2008) recommended the program. See more.

“LNJ has been a special part of my life. In 2011 I had a lot of things going on, it was a big change in my life, it was the year I first got elected to office and I went through the Lead New Jersey program in the same year. I was running for office and doing the program simultaneously and while it was trying at times, I don’t think I would have done it any other way. It complimented my ability to be a candidate for political office. Lead New Jersey educated me on issues like education reform, public and charter schools and criminal justice, which helped establish my policy-making positions and platform as I was running for office at that time.”

Proudest Moments:

• Advocated to established open doors for immigrants in Jersey City and the New Jersey Dream Act

• We passed a series of legislation in establishing the first Office of Diversity