ENG: Albio Sires (born January 26, 1951 in Bejucal, Cuba) is the U.S. Representative for New Jersey's 8th congressional district. The district includes some of Jersey City, as well as most of the Latino neighborhoods of Newark. He used to represent New Jersey's 13th congressional district from November 2006-January 2013, which was eliminated after redistricting in 2012. He is a member of the Democratic Party. He previously represented district 33 in the New Jersey General Assembly from 2000 to 2006.
Early life, education and career
Albio Sires was born in Cuba and immigrated to the United States with his family at age 11 with the help of relatives in the United States.
Sires is a graduate of Memorial High School.
He went to Saint Peter's College on a basketball scholarship and received a B.A. in 1974 in Spanish and Marketing. He received an M.A. in 1985 from Middlebury College in Spanish. He is the owner of the A.M. Title Agency Inc.
New Jersey government
Sires served as the Speaker of the Assembly from 2002 to 2006 and was the first Hispanic person to serve as New Jersey's Assembly Speaker. He was considered a surprise pick for speaker, since he had only served one term in the Assembly before taking the position. It has been reported that he was elected as speaker after Gov.-Elect Jim McGreevey decided he did not want then Assembly Minority Leader Joseph Doria, a former speaker, to serve as speaker during his governorship.
Sires was an active Democrat in the 1970s and 1980s. He switched to the Republican Party in 1985 and he ran for Congress in 1986 against Frank Guarini. Sires lost that election by a 71% to 26% margin.
Sires left the Republican Party in 1994 and became a registered independent. Sires rejoined the Democratic Party in 1998. Just three years later, he became Speaker.
During his tenure as speaker, Sires served as Acting Governor of New Jersey on several occasions, when former Gov. Jim McGreevey and former Gov. Richard Codey left the state.
He was the first Hispanic person to serve as an Acting Governor of New Jersey. As Acting Governor, Sires signed several bills into law and performed routine duties of the office.
For the 2006–2008 legislative session, Sires was given the largely honorary title of Speaker Emeritus. Sires is a former Chairman of the Legislative Services Commission. Sires stepped down from his seat in the Assembly, and was replaced by Silverio Vega, who was selected by the Democratic district committee to replace Sires. Vega was sworn in to office on December 11, 2006.
Sires was the Mayor of West New York, New Jersey from 1995 to 2006.
Sires was succeeded by Vega, who will retain his mayoral seat while he simultaneously serves in the Assembly, joining three fellow Hudson County mayors — Brian Stack of Union City in the Assembly and both Nicholas Sacco of North Bergen and Joseph Doria of Bayonne in the New Jersey Senate — who serve as both mayors and in the New Jersey Legislature. For many years, it was common for New Jersey mayors to serve in the legislature as well, though this practice has been abolished.
U.S. House of Representatives - Tenure
Albio Sires has voted with the Democratic Party 93% of the time since joining Congress.
Sires is a member of the Congressional Cuba Democracy Caucus.
Political campaigns - 2006
Sires won election to the United States House of Representatives from New Jersey's 13th congressional district and won the special election to complete the final two months of Bob Menendez's term. Menendez moved up to the United States Senate to fill the seat vacated by Governor of New Jersey Jon Corzine.
In the June 6, 2006, primary, Sires beat Assemblyman and Perth Amboy Mayor Joseph Vas in a bitter primary. Sires defeated Vas 68% to 32% and won in Union, Hudson and Essex Counties, while Vas bested Sires in Middlesex County. In the simultaneous special primary to fill the remaining two months, Sires won approximately 90% of the vote, defeating James Geron, assuring Sires of a Congressional seat as no Republican was seeking the term. However, the 13th is so heavily Democratic that any Republican who opted to file would have faced nearly impossible odds in the special election.
Sires faced Republican John Guarini — a salesman and second cousin of former Congressman Frank J. Guarini (1979–93) — who was unopposed for the GOP nomination. Vas did not seek the unexpired term seat.
CQPolitics noted "Sires’ likely November victories would cap off his ambitions for a House seat, which he first expressed exactly 20 years ago under very different circumstances. He ran that year as the Republican challenger to entrenched incumbent Guarini, but managed only 27 percent of the vote."
Sires is part of a handful of Cuban lawmakers serving in the House, though he is the only Democrat.
After winning the election with 78% of the vote, Sires was sworn into the House on November 13, 2006 to begin to fill the remaining term of Senator Bob Menendez.
The New York Times rated the 13th District as "solid Democratic" in 2010. Sires was challenged by Republican nominee Henrietta Dwyer; he would defeat her with 74% of the vote.
Due to redistricting, Albio Sires is running in the new 8th Congressional District. In the primary election, he faced 25 year old candidate Michael J. Shurin, whose campaign largely focused on the legalization of marijuana.
Sires and his wife, Adrienne, live in West New York.
February 8, 2013