Braz joins MAD Global as managing director in charge of firm’s lobbying efforts in Trenton

Justin Braz, a highly regarded member of the governor’s team, will be joining MAD Global Strategy Group as a manager director who will head up the firm’s lobbying operation in Trenton, the firm announced Monday.

Braz will be leaving his role as assistant commissioner and chief of staff at the state Department of Transportation, a position he has held since last summer. Prior to that, he served as deputy chief of staff for legislative affairs for Gov. Phil Murphy since Murphy took office in January 2018.

MAD Global founder and CEO Mike DuHaime obviously was thrilled to announce the hire.

“MAD Global Strategy is building the premier team of trusted advisers, the next generation of top tier talent in public affairs,” he said. “Justin is exactly the kind of dynamic young leader we need to elevate our organization.”

MAD Global partner Laura Matos was equally enthused.

“Justin is a well-respected professional, with a deep understanding of public policy and how state government impacts families and businesses,” she said. “He is a significant addition to our team as we continue to grow our portfolio and build a world-class team of strategists.”

Braz said he is looking forward to the opportunity.

“I am humbled by Mike, Laura and the entire team’s faith in me and am excited to join such a talented, bipartisan team of proven leaders,” he said. “Over a decade ago, I entered the public sector believing in government’s ability to faithfully serve the best interests of the people. That conviction endures thanks to the many exceptional individuals with whom I have had the honor of working, including, of course, Gov. Murphy and Commissioner (Diane) Gutierrez-Scaccetti.

“I look forward to putting my background and experience to work alongside the team at MAD Global Strategy and continuing to help solve complex problems here in New Jersey and beyond.”

Braz also served as chief of staff to Assembly Budget Chairman Gary Schaer from 2013-2017 and was was the New Jersey political coordinator for 1199 SEIU and chief of staff to Assemblywoman Annette Quijano.

But he is best known for his time with Murphy, who wished him well in his new role.

“For over six years, Justin Braz has served as a close adviser who has helped me skillfully navigate some of our toughest challenges,” the governor said. “From serving on my 2017 campaign to his role as deputy chief of staff for legislative affairs in the Governor’s Office to his position as assistant commissioner and chief of staff at the Department of Transportation, Justin has built a reputation across New Jersey as a dedicated and honest broker trusted by legislators, labor, and business leaders alike.

“Although we’ll miss him in the Murphy administration, I’ll continue to rely on his wise counsel and wish him nothing but the best in his next chapter.”