TapInto’s latest in its series on this year’s incumbents on the ballot for Council focuses on Councilman Matt Adams. Read the full article by clicking on this link

Name: Matthew S. Adams
Current Occupation: Partner/ National Co-Chair, White Collar Criminal Defense and Regulatory Compliance Practice Group, Fox Rothschild LLP
Education: Rutgers University, BS (2004); Seton Hall University, JD (2007)
Family: Married father of 3 boys (Michael, 9; Andrew, 8; and Nicholas, 4)
# Years Living in Scotch Plains: I lived in Scotch Plains during law school from 2005-07, and moved back in 2014, where I have resided with my family ever since.

Why are you running for Council? 
I want to continue working on the elusive things that have evaded progress for too long because the best days for Scotch Plains are yet to come.

My grandfather — a small business owner and local elected official in Monmouth County for close to four decades — taught me that a public servant needs to fight every day for the needs of each and every member of the community that they serve.  My father, a police officer who ultimately ascended through the ranks to become chief of his department, taught me that there is nothing you cannot do if you put your head down and work hard at it.  I look to those important role models every day while tasked with the awesome responsibility of representing the residents of the community where I have chosen to settle and to raise my children.

Our parks, centers for socialization and growth for our children through organized and less formal activities, were allowed to fall into disrepair for too long. This changed with my leadership, and I want to continue ensuring that our town invests in our parks.

A year ago, Ida struck our region, and caused devastating flooding.  The storm reminded us that we continue to be especially vulnerable to flooding as climate change alters our weather patterns. The price tag for the various engineering and other work to make our community at less risk to flooding, however, is simply too great for our municipality to tackle alone.  Our ability to progress as a community depends upon our ability to become more flood resilient.  That is why we need to build bridges to state and federal leaders for their support.  I believe that I am particularly adept at this type of relationship building.

Sound fiscal management is vital in everything, but especially local government.  The decisions that we make as a council directly impact the wallets of our residents.  That is why I am particularly proud of the fact that we have presided over a time of such tremendous progress while keeping taxes flat and earning a AAA bond rating.  I am a details person.  My training and my job dictate it.  I sat down for hours with the mayor and the township’s chief financial officer during the budget process, carefully and painstakingly ensuring that residents would not see any increase in the municipal portion of their property tax bill. While progress no doubt requires expenditures, those expenditures must be fiscally responsible.  I am proud that we have achieved everything we have achieved for our community while keeping taxes flat and earning a AAA bond rating.  You can expect that same attention to detail from my colleagues and I as we keep moving forward.

Finally, a major part of leadership is representing all people, regardless of their background. I know that everyone will not always agree on all issues, all of the time, but when it comes to inclusivity, there is no middle ground, period.  Hate has no home in Scotch Plains, and I am not afraid to say it.

Tell us about your career and how your work and life experience are beneficial in your role as a Councilperson?
There is an obvious interplay between being a lawyer and working in government. The policy decisions that I make as a councilman are rooted in the same principles of our democracy that I have dedicated my career to mastering and carrying out through my work. Yet, there are other aspects of my legal career that I carry into my role in local government. Specifically, as a practice group leader and partner in one of the 100 largest law firms in the country, I also help run a significant business. The responsibilities and skills that I have developed in that role have direct parallels to my duties as a councilman in shaping budgets, handling personnel decisions, and developing policy.

In my personal life, I am the father of 3 very active young boys. My weekends are spent mostly on the sidelines coaching or in the stands rooting for my boys and their various teams. This has given me a direct feel for so many of the needs of our community, in particular our parks and recreation needs. This perspective has directly shaped my work as liaison to the Recreation Department and the rest of my portfolio of responsibilities as a councilman.

What are the issues that you think are most important in Scotch Plains this year?
In no particular order, because they are all equally important priorities:

  • Paving roads and fixing sidewalks;
  • Creating a local economy that attracts small businesses;
  • The revitalization of our downtown business district in an open and transparent way;
  • Continuing to rebuild our parks, recreation, and youth sports facilities;
  • Maintaining public safety and providing our first responders the tools they need;
  • Continuing to work toward solutions to the flooding issues in our town;
  • Pushing back strongly and decisively on over development;
  • Ensuring an inclusive, welcoming environment in our community, FOR ALL; and
  • Finding creative ways to derive revenue for our town to pay for all that needs to be done without increasing the tax burden on residents and keeping Scotch Plains affordable.

What should people know about you that they might not know already?
I have participated in dozens of marathons, half-marathons, and triathlons throughout my life  Those solitary events leave you alone with your own thoughts for hours. Through them, you don’t just learn a ton about yourself, you develop a mental toughness that you carry with you to the rest of your life.

Hidden Talents
I love to cook and to entertain. Before law school, I worked in nearly all facets of the restaurant business, in the front of the house and in the kitchen. It taught me a great deal about worth ethic, and also how to make a mean clam chowder, enhance the flavor of a bunch of things with rice wine vinegar, and, most of all, how to be hospitable.

Favorite Sports Teams
New York Yankees
New York Rangers
New York Jets
Rutgers Scarlet Knights
Seton Hall Pirates

Anything else you would like to say?
Serving the people of Scotch Plains for the past 2 years has been the honor of a lifetime. If re-elected, I will continue to serve with honesty, integrity, and passion. Above all else, I am a fierce advocate for all our residents. Never hesitate to reach out to me at mattadams@scotchplainsnj.com, or let’s meet for a cup of coffee or a beer. The road to lasting progress is not always easy, but I am always in your corner.