Dan Scaggs. (Click to enlarge.)

Two three-year terms on the Shrewsbury Borough Council are up for grabs in the November 7 election. On the ballot are four candidates: incumbent Councilman Erik Anderson; his running mate, Kim Doran Eulner; and Democrats Shane Berkelaar and Dan Scaggs.

Here are Scaggs’ written responses to questions posed to all four candidates recently by redbankgreen.

Name: Dan Scaggs

Age: 41

Address: 51 Heritage Dr, Shrewsbury

How long have you been a resident of Shrewsbury?

5½ years

Where did you grow up?

Middletown, NJ

Where did you go to high school?

Mater Dei HS, class of ‘94

Did you graduate from college? If so, which school, with what degree?

I have an Associate’s Degree from Brookdale, C.C. After Brookdale, I attended several colleges on and off, including Kean University and Rutgers. Truthfully, I never knew what I wanted to be until I became a dad. After I’ve put my children through college, I’ll see if there’s any money left over for me to go back for a degree.

Have your served in the military? If so, which branch and when?

No, I have not, but I have the privilege of having family members who have served. My father served in the Army for 20 years and my brother-in-law served in the Marines for 4.

What do you do for a living?

I’m a Property and Casualty insurance broker specializing in Professional Lines with expertise in Cyber Liability. Due to a very flexible schedule, however,  I’m also able to work as a stay-at-home dad to my kids – which is far and away my favorite job!

Please tell us a little bit about your community involvement efforts, if any.

For 3 years, I was on the board of the Monmouth County Referral Group (MCRG), a group of local business owners who help each other’s businesses grow and who hold an annual charity event to raise money for worthy local organizations. I am also a member of the Monmouth County Evening Rotary Club (MCERC), a joint Rotary club consisting of members from the Red Bank, Asbury, Freehold, Tinton Falls, and Long Branch Rotary Clubs and whose purpose is to engage in physical charity work once a month. I also have the privilege of being the Secretary of the Shrewsbury Parent Teacher Group (SPTG), an organization whose purpose is to provide a support network to the students, the Shrewsbury Board of Education, faculty and administration of Shrewsbury Borough School by encouraging cooperation and understanding within the school community.

Party affiliation: I’m a Democrat.

How important is party affiliation to you? What does it mean to you to be a member of your party?

Party affiliation is pretty important to me because I feel by sharing your values with like-minded people, you give them a stronger voice – a stronger voice to use in finding the best way forward with the opposing party.

Do you have a role model in public life? Who and why?

Senator Al Franken, who gave up a successful comedy career to become engaged in politics in order to give a stronger voice to what he believes in, which happens to be 99% of what I believe in.

Why are you running for Shrewsbury council?

I’m running because in a democracy it’s so important that people be given a choice on who to vote for – to be given an opportunity to hear different ideas.  Until last year, the residents of Shrewsbury haven’t had one for a long time. It’s also important that every resident feels that they have representation in their local government, not just the Republicans.

What are the most pressing issues facing the town, and how do you plan to address them?

While Shrewsbury is a fantastic place to raise a family, after talking to many residents, I’m concerned about the number of people who have told me that they’re being priced out of Shrewsbury because of high property taxes. Many of them have lived in Shrewsbury for decades.

What if any specific initiatives can voters expect from you if you are elected?

My running mate Shane Berkelaar and I plan on reviewing Shrewsbury’s municipal budget and examining our existing contracts in order to see, with a fresh perspective and new ideas, where they can be made more affordable. We would also like to address the concerns of many residents who have told us they’d like to see a friendlier and more welcoming council that used better methods of communication.

Earlier this year, the opening of a Seabrook House addiction counseling center drew protests about its location on White Street. Is that location appropriate? Why or Why not?

As someone who has worked in the field, I understand the need for the vital services Share Counseling offers. I also feel that because of the controversy surrounding the location of Share Counseling, (a controversy that began because of the failure of Borough Hall to communicate to the residents that this facility was opening and  in such close proximity to the school) the location cannot fully serve the privacy of the clients who are getting help there. There are far more appropriate locations in Shrewsbury.

If there’s anything you’d like to add, please do so here:

As I said before – in order to be successful, democracy – on any level – needs to offer a choice. Otherwise it begins to suffer from a stagnation of ideas. This problem becomes inherent with one party rule, and while we’ve certainly had many outstanding council members over the years, it’s just human nature.

Shane and I  feel strongly that a fresh perspective and healthy debate are key ingredients for finding the best solutions. It’s certainly what’s needed now to bring our budget down to a size that could help alleviate our heavy tax burden, which is forcing residents who have lived here for decades to face moving elsewhere.

Find the Shrewsbury ballot here. Polling places are listed by district below.

1 Shrewsbury Borough Fire House 783 Broad Street
2 Shrewsbury Borough Municipal Building 419 Sycamore Avenue
3 Shrewsbury Borough Fire House 783 Broad Street