Edison, N.J. Mayor Sam Joshi counts accomplishments in first 100 days

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Mayor Sam Joshi of Edison, NJ, right, with Governor of New Jersey Phil Murphy Photo Facebook Photo uploaded March 10, 2022, @mayorsamjoshi

The first Indian-American Mayor of Edison, N.J., one of the most diverse cities in the nation, finished the first 100 days of his administration, counting his accomplishments on the promises he made during his election campaign last year.

When he was running for office and won the election November 2, 2021, Mayor Joshi said “We bleed American”. He was making history leading a city with possibly the largest concentration of Indian-Americans and South Asian-Americans.

He echoed similar feelings when he said ‘Edison is in my blood’ on the 100th day of his Mayor-ship April 3, 2022, according to his quote in MyCentralJerssey.com news outlet. .

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It seems his plan all along from a very young age, was to be Mayor of this city where he was born and brought up, joined the Edison Youth Service Corps when he was 14, and where he began serving first on the Zoning Board and then on the Township Council when still in his mid-20s. At the age of 27, he became the Vice President of the Town Council.

In an interview with MyCentralJersey.com published April 3, the young Mayor said he knew from day-one of coming into office what he wanted for his city. He hit the ground running, no, actually, “We hit the ground sprinting honestly,” he said about what he described as a smooth transition over the last three months since he was sworn in Jan. 3, 2022.

On his website Joshi ticked off with checkmarks showing the tasks he had laid down for himself on taking office and is continuing to implement, viz. that he would be a ‘Full Time Mayor” to address the cities challenges including ailing infrastructure, outdated Master Plan, and the absence of a long-term vision. The Master Plan, a blueprint for a long-term Township vision which had been drafted 30 years ago, was no longer suitable as the world has changed drastically since then, indicating that he was working on a forward-thinking approach and a vision that includes community-centric neighborhoods.

He continues to work at correcting the crushingly high property taxes, and has kept to his promise to prioritize cost savings and new revenues outside of residential property taxes.

He also ticked off his efforts to “Embrace Technology for Efficiency” by downsizing Municipal government expenses by streamlining procedures in departments through technology.

His other promises continue to be leveraging public-private partnerships and shared services, an area where work is going apace. According to MyCentralJersey, Joshi’s two campaign pledges are already being fulfilled. One, where the town is buying the South Edison property where a massive warehouse was going to be built by a developer; and another, where a developer is dropping plans to build 23 townhouses on Plainfield Road.

He has talked of rejuvenating seven miles of riverfront area that is unused; and talked of uplifting neighborhoods in parts of Route 287 that are blighted for decades.

“We are going after blighted properties. At this point we are up to 14 condemnations that have been approved on the planning board,” Joshi is quoted saying in MyCentralJersey, calling his approach different and targeted at spurring economic development, adding, “We want to able to positively impact the most amount of people in every age and economic demographic.”

On municipal broadband, a feasibility study is on the books because of “residents dissatisfaction with Optimum, the town’s main internet provider,” MyCentralJersey reported. Joshi hopes to see broadband made a municipal instead of private entity.

And restructuring municipal departments, and launch a township-wide plan to improve pride and morale through neighborhood landmarks, are part of Joshi’s vision. In line with that, the science museum and the planned expansion of the North Edison Library branch, are a couple of goals. Joshi expects the expanded library for which a multimillion grant has already been approved, to include interactive learning.

He also spoke to MyCentralJersey of his desire to build a science museum as a landmark tourist attraction and because the town is named after one of America’s foremost scientists – Thomas Edison.

To follow through on recognizing the diversity of Edison, the town has doubled the recreation budget, and activities include experiencing all the cultures that live in Edison, including a Diwali festival and other festivals paralleling Christmas, that go to make up the population of the city.

Joshi attended John. P. Stevens High School, and graduated from Rutgers University in Labor Studies and Political Science. He co-founded Loanscribe which dealt with refinancing student loans. He was Division Manager and then Executive Vice President of SD Capital Funding for more than 9 years starting in 2012. He is a member of the Board of Directors of The Jewish Renaissance Foundation.

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