“I remember him when I was growing up and lived across the street from me,” said West New York Mayor Albio Sires who grew up on 65th and Dewey streets across the street from former state Assemblyman Louis A. Romano. “I remember him as a [shop] teacher at Memorial High School when I was a student there and when I became a teacher.”
Romano died a week ago Thursday at the age of 70. He served on the state assembly from 1991-1999 after nearly 40 years as an educator, although he described himself as a “full-time legislator.”
Romano got his BS degree from Fordham University in Social Studies, his MA from Seton Hall University for professional education and his Ed. D. from New York University. Romano also served in the U.S. Army from 1951 to 1953, reaching the rank of corporal.
“I always found him to be a very hard working individual and a very religious individual,” said Sires, who supported him during his election and reelection into the assembly before becoming an assemblyman himself. “Lou Romano truly was a Hudson County original,” said Hudson County Executive Robert Janiszewski. “He was loved by everyone and will be sadly missed. He served his community well, starting at the bottom and working his way into the New Jersey Assembly, where he fought for seniors and transportation dollars for Hudson.”
“He had a very good relationship with the students,” said Sires, recalling a vandalism problem in the schools in the late 1960s. “He was the teacher chosen to address the students. He got all of the upperclassmen in an assembly to try to resolve the problem.”
Romano worked for the West New York Board of Education from 1960 to his retirement in 1994. In 1975, he became the assistant to the superintendent of schools and in 1977, he became the board’s business administrator and secretary, which he remained until his retirement. He also served as chairman of the West New York Juvenile Conference Committee from 1973 to 1991. From 1975 to 1980, he was West New York Democratic Chairman.
“I knew Lou for the better part of 20 years,” said state Sen. Bernard Kenny. “We served together in the state legislature for about eight years.”
Kenny described Romano as a unique individual who had a remarkable sense of humor and a good work ethic. “Lou came to government after about 40 years in the public sector,” Kenny said. “He brought a wealth of governmental and political experience to his position, from the school, municipal, county and state level.” Kenny said Romano was always well prepared and had a broad and deep understanding of the issues.
“He rarely missed a meeting, hearing or a political function, even when he had to drive across the state to attend it.” Kenny said. “He dedicated his life to public service and I think he will be remembered as an outstanding public servant.”
“Lou Romano was an extraordinary public servant who gave tirelessly not only for the residents of his district, but for everyone who calls New Jersey home,” said Gov. Christine Whitman. “Lou Romano was at all times thoughtful and kind. He set an example for all elected officials about putting people above partisanship. He will be sorely missed.”
“Louis Romano was a pleasant and gracious man who had many friends,” said Assembly Democratic leader Joseph V. Doria Jr. “He was a gentleman in the truest sense of the word and he was universally revered for his honesty and his dedicated service on the behalf of his working class constituency. His spirit will always be a source of inspiration to his fellow legislators and his friends.”