How a Filipino immigrant became a mayor in New Jersey and changed the political landscape

Amatorio – a Democrat, an immigration attorney and a son of public school teachers from Baler, Quezon – was sworn in last week at the Bergenfield Borough Hall Council Chambers for his second mayoral term.


Fil-Am lawyer Arvin Amatorio – with First Lady Tammy Snyder Murphy, wife of New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy in this photo – was recently reelected as mayor of Bergenfield, New Jersey. PHOTO: COLLECTED/ PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER

January 11, 2024

BERGENFIELD, NJ — When Arvin Amatorio left the Philippines in 2002, he arrived in the United States as a 30-year-old immigrant, wondering at times how he would start a new chapter of his life in a foreign country.

Now, 22 years later, he is serving his second term as mayor of Bergenfield, a town of more than 28,000 people in the northeastern corner of New Jersey.

“I arrived in the US with no plans to run for public office or dreams that I will become a mayor someday. Like most immigrants, we come here to work, follow our families or go to school,” said Amatorio.

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