Alumni Spotlight Michael Venezia

Alumni Spotlight: Michael Venezia

When you think of home, it is a place that’s relied on for comfort, equality, and growth. Lifelong Bloomfield resident and a Monmouth alumnus, Mayor Michael Venezia, makes sure his town is prepared for everyone to feel welcomed.

As any newcomer in politics, Venezia had to get his feet wet and work his way up. “I was always involved locally in politics and government in Bloomfield which kind of geared me to run for council in 2010,” said Venezia.

Upon graduating Monmouth University with a political science degree in 2005, Venezia felt prepared to embark on his successful career within politics. To begin this journey, he took the opportunity working for Congressman Bill Pascrell as a way of becoming more involved in politics.

“I started off as a staff assistant, which is the lowest level position. I used to drive Bill and answer the phone; it was a very demanding job because you would always be on the other end of an angry constitute,” Venezia said.

A couple months later, Venezia moved up to Field Representative concentrating on Essex County becoming the link for most of the local government to the Congressman’s office.

Venezia later began working as Projects Director for former U.S. Senator Frank Lautenberg for over five years. When Lautenberg passed away, Venezia went on to work for Essex County and the County Administrator’s office as an assistant administrator and is currently the Director of Human Resources for the Essex County Schools of Technology.

Venezia believes that Bloomfield has an advantage over other towns throughout Essex County and the state, based off the vicinity of the town being five miles from Newark, NJ, 11 miles from New York City, and five redevelopment projects which will begin construction in 2019.

“You can get to everywhere within minutes from living in Bloomfield. If you work in Newark, you can get there by car, bus, train, or light rail. You can get to New York City by train, bus, and then we have all our access points whether it’s the Garden State Parkway, Route 46, and Route 3. Bloomfield has a midtown direct train into New York City so we’re trying to build upon attracting citizens coming from the city,” said Venezia.

As a mayor, you must face obstacles in order for you to strengthen your ability as a politician and your town. Three of these obstacles that Venezia comes across is property tax redevelopment, and poverty.

Venezia finds that over the last five years since he’s become mayor, there has been a total transition on the council for the better. “We have a young diverse group on the council that recognize long term residents, but we also want to see Bloomfield grow to a point where we’re blossoming for the future,” he said. 

Venezia also makes sure a vast police force are available within the town. By having a force of 125 officers and more women being in the rankings, crime began to decrease overtime. “We had less incidents in 2018, such as burglary, robbery; such as class one or class A crimes, then we did back in 1999. We are becoming a model police department for the state,” Venezia said.

“Whether it was the Italian, Irish, Polish back in the 50’s and 60’s that came here to what we have today, it is a very diverse population. We’re still a working class community and that’s what we are going to keep it as,” said Venezia.

He is also in the process of developing an 18 acre park which was set to have 175 town homes and going to feature a soccer field, playground, and wetland mitigation. The park is expected to be finished during the fall of 2019.

Even though Venezia’s administration has done a wonderful job innovating Bloomfield, he still feels that there is room for improvement. He makes sure all of his employees go to conferences and training, including himself, thus building a strong democratic government.

In the next election, Venezia finds that his advantage over his opponents is that he has a proven track record. “I think the fact that I’m a lifelong Bloomfield resident so a lot of the long term residents know me and know the job I have done. Being young helps me with the newer residents. I think people appreciate that and hopefully they will re-elect me for a third term,” Venezia said.