Editor’s Note: The Alternative Press of South Plainfield will be featuring a profile series entitled “Meet the Leaders”. The objective is to provide our readers the opportunity to hear from South Plainfield’s leaders in government, public safety, commerce and other areas, regarding South Plainfield’s present and future outlook, their background and what they enjoy doing in their private life.  In order to keep the format consistent, The Alternative Press presented each individual with the same five questions. We publish their answers unedited.

Our first leader is Assemblyman Patrick J. Diegnan, Jr.

Background on Assemblyman Patrick J. Diegnan, Jr.

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I was born and raised in South Plainfield.  My mother and father were immigrants from Ireland and raised seven children (I am the youngest). I graduated from Sacred Heart Grammar School and South Plainfield High School.  I received my Bachelor of Arts and Juris Doctorate Degree from Seton Hall University.  After completing law school and passing the New Jersey Bar exam, I opened my law practice in South Plainfield.  I have been happily married to my wife, Anita for 38 years.  She blessed me with two daughters Heather and, Tara who is married to Tom Webster.  I have two grandchildren, Vanessa and Alexa who are the joy of our family.

What inspired you to pursue a career as a Legislator?

My father instilled in us a love of politics and government.  One of his favorite expressions was, “Stop complaining and do something about it.”  John F. Kennedy was my inspiration for seeking public office.

What are the biggest opportunities and challenges facing South Plainfield today?

South Plainfield is a great place to live and raise a family.  Someone once said, “We are not really a small town but we act that way.”  There is a real sense of community in our borough.  You can’t go to the A&P or Twin City Pharmacy without running into 10 people you know…that’s special.  Like so many towns, our challenges are controlling taxes and borrowing while keeping South Plainfield safe and secure.

What are the top priorities on your “to do list” as South Plainfield’s Legislator?

As Chairman of the Assembly Education Committee, my top priority is keeping New Jersey’s public education the best in the nation.  I am also proud to be an advocate for veterans and those less fortunate in our society, particularly those individuals with special needs.

What do you do in your spare time?

My favorite thing to do in my spare time is relaxing with my family.  I enjoy golf, reading and rooting for the Yankees.

Five words to describe South Plainfield….A Great Place to Live!