Steven Russel throws his hat in the ring for public office

Steven Russell
Steven Russell

Matawan resident and entrepreneur is always busy

Steven Russell is a busy man, but that hasn’t ever stopped him from achieving his goals. Now Russell has thrown his hat in the ring in Matawan and is running for Borough Council.

Russell and his husband bought their house in Matawan in 1998, “Of the 10 houses built then on our cul-de-sac, we are the only original owners left.” He moved from Princeton, where he attended Westminster Choir College, to the Matawan area in 1983 to teach music at St. John Vianney High School. He has been living or working in the Matawan area since.

Officially, he is retired from a full-time career in directing church music, but he hasn’t stopped doing what he loves. “I am owner of Becoming Sound LLC and a freelance musician, a licensed massage therapist, and certified yoga teacher. I direct several musical groups and am currently conducting for Collegium Musicum in Old Bridge.”

Russell is also a substitute organist, pianist, choir director, and singer in churches throughout the area, and teaches yoga at the QSpot LGBT Community Center in Asbury Park and at the Monmouth County Library in Manalapan.

As a 24-year resident, Russell is a member of the Matawan Aberdeen Chamber of Commerce. Through the MACC and the Matawan Day Street Festival he met several members of the Matawan Borough Council. “And they asked me to consider running,” he said. “I’ve never thought of running for public office before. But my husband and I would like to stay in Matawan. We don’t want to be lured to another area just for lower taxes. We’d like to stay in our home in Matawan.

For the past several years the Democrats on the Council have brought exciting new businesses to downtown Matawan. I have been frequenting many of them. The town has never looked or felt better. I’d like to continue that momentum. We live in a wonderfully diverse neighborhood, and we want to stay here.”

Looking at voting trends in Matawan, they seem split down the middle — leaning just slightly to the left or right. Last year two Democrats lost to Republicans on the council. How will Russell swing the voters his way?

“I know the two men who lost that election by 41 votes,” Russell said. “I’m sure that scenario can be avoided by going out even more than they did. Talking to and listening to the people who live in Matawan. My running mate Brian Livesey, the current Council president, and the mayor, who are both seeking reelection, and I are excited to work for the people of the town. I’m honored to be on the ticket with them.”

What can you do to help? “If they know residents of Matawan, make sure they tell them about our campaign. They can come to the businesses in town for dinner, coffee, comic books, vegan baked goods, realtors, bicycles, and the like or to walk by the two beautiful lakes in town. Ride the Henry Hudson Trail. And let me know when they are coming. I’ll join them. They can also donate to the campaign, of course. And if they live in Matawan, they can vote for me!”