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No Stranger to Bridgewater

Our Newly Elected Mayor Leads us out of this Dark Time

On January 1st, Matthew Moench was sworn in as the new mayor of Bridgewater Township. At the time, no one could have imagined the tremendous challenges he would be taking on in just the first few months of his four-year term. Staying in the spirit of this issue’s #BridgewaterSTRONG theme, we felt it was important to introduce and highlight the individual that is navigating our town through these difficult times. 

Long before feeling called to public service, Mayor Moench began his academic career as a child playing on the playground at Bridgewater’s Hamilton Primary School. After graduating from Bridgewater-Raritan Regional High School in 2000, he attended Rutgers College where he was President of his fraternity, Kappa Sigma. Matt then earned his J.D. from Seton Hall Law School.  

“In law school, I really started to become more active by serving on the local Recreation Advisory Board and then the Board of Adjustment. I was always interested in politics, but it wasn’t until late in law school that I really began to have an interest in serving in elected office,” says the Mayor.

A devoted family man, he married lifelong Bridgewater resident Stephanie (Mealha) Moench.

“My wife and I knew each other in high school. We were in the band together. She was a senior when I was just a freshman,” says Mayor Moench.

Today they raise their three children: Jackson (7), Emmanuella (5) and Julia (3) just blocks away from his childhood home. His parents and sister also live in Bridgewater along with his in-laws. For the Mayor, the idea of raising his family elsewhere never even crossed his mind.

He explains, “I love that Bridgewater has a little bit of everything. There are beautiful, almost rural areas, and we also have robust commercial and recreational opportunities. I like that the various parts of town have their own character and a lot to offer to a variety of people with different interests.”

Mayor Moench's political career began by volunteering on the Recreation Advisory Board and the Bridgewater Township Board of Adjustment. In 2007, as a third-year law student, he was elected to the Bridgewater Town Council and served for a total of three terms (12 years) and was also selected as Council President for three of those years (2010, 2015 and 2019) before running for Mayor in 2019. 

In his new role, the Mayor has laid out some long-term plans for our town, especially as we move forward from the effects of the Coronavirus. 

“Our two most important plans are improvements to our roads and infrastructure through the creation and execution of a long-term infrastructure program, and the update to our Master Plan which will set the direction for development in Bridgewater for the next decade,” says Mayor Moench. 

His goal for the next year is to increase transparency, online service and streaming abilities, and support to our police and first responders. Developing a repository for Bridgewater history is also part of his long-term planning. 

Being a newly-elected mayor while being tested through a major crisis, has certainly created some challenges for the Mayor. Managing professional requirements while balancing family obligations can be quite difficult. 

“It is fluid, but I try to address these challenges by being present with whatever I’m doing at the time, learning what meetings require attendance and which ones don’t, and trusting my staff to do the things I cannot get to personally,” says Mayor Moench. 

Being mayor is actually a part-time job for him. By day he practices law and is a partner at King, Moench, Hirniak & Mehta, LLP in Morris Plains.

Throughout the pandemic, the Mayor has made it a point to keep everyone informed. The township has posted regular updates on the number of cases and casualties in town on a daily basis. In addition, he has set up multiple Facebook live updates as well as forums for small businesses to learn of what they can do to weather these difficult times. 

He explains, "New Jerseyans are known for our toughness and our resilience. We will get through the Coronavirus outbreak, and come out a stronger, closer community.  I am proud of our residents, proud of the compassion that they have shown for everyone impacted by COVID-19, and look forward to the bright days ahead.”

The reward for a job well done is we all have a great place to live. Mayor Moench believes that our town can stay #BridgewaterSTRONG.

“As someone who was born and raised here, my family has been shaped by everything our town has to offer. A close-knit community balanced with all the opportunities and benefits of the modern world. I think that is what Bridgewater offers to families, and that is what I love about Bridgewater.”

Mayor Moench wants everyone to know that he lives by the motto, “We are, B-R!”