This story was first reported on November 21 and was updated on November 27 with a quote from Nancy Adams. It was updated again on November 29 with a quote from Jamaine Cripe.
By unanimous vote of the five-member Maplewood Township Committee, longtime Maplewood TC member Nancy Adams has been elected mayor for 2024. Jamaine Cripe has been elected 2024 deputy mayor, also unanimously.
Adams and Cripe will be sworn into their new rolls at the Maplewood Reorganization meeting on January 1, 2024. They were elected tonight, Nov. 21, at a caucus of the Maplewood Democratic Committee, held following the regular TC meeting.
Adams is entering her ninth year on the governing body. She will be serving the final year of her third term as a TC member in 2024. Cripe, who ran with Adams in 2021, will be entering the final year of her first term on the TC.
Adams will be the second female mayor of Maplewood. Ellen Davenport was the first, serving as Maplewood mayor from 1994-1997.
“Now that we have a majority female Township Committee, I’m really delighted this evening and very proud to nominate one of our female committee members to serve as mayor in 2024,” said current Mayor Dean Dafis as the caucus began. He then paused and announced, “I nominate committee member — Nancy Adams.”
“I second the nomination,” said Deputy Mayor Deborah Engel.
TC member and former Mayor Vic De Luca made a motion to close the nominations.
Afterward, former Maplewood Vice Mayor Kathy Leventhal sent the following message to Village Green, “Congratulations, Nancy and Jamaine! In 2024, when Maplewood will have Nancy Adams and Jamaine Cripe as Mayor and Vice Mayor, the leadership of women in government will carry us forward.”
“I’m excited for this new role as Mayor,” wrote Adams to Village Green on November 27. “After eight years on the Township Committee making progress in environmental initiatives in particular, I hope to, as Mayor, be able to make progress on a state level for some of them. I’m thrilled finally, after something like 26 years, to once again have a woman mayor and now two women in the Chair & Vice Chair seats on the Township Committee. I’ve heard for years from people whose daughters look up to me on the Township Committee particularly when I was the only woman on the TC for 4 years; I hope Jamaine and I can be role models as Deputy Mayor and Mayor.”
“It has been an honor and a learning experience serving Maplewood as a member of the Township Committee these past two years,” said Cripe in an email to Village Green. “I’ve met so many of our neighbors and have truly enjoyed working towards solutions to our problems and improving upon the many things our leaders have gotten right. People want to make Maplewood their home. But we can do so much more to live out our value’s. It’s almost like fiction to realize that only one woman has served as Mayor before Nancy and less than a handful of IBPOC have served as Deputy Mayor or members of the Township Committee in the history of this community that prides itself on diversity and inclusion. Don’t get me started on how few have been Hilton/Lightening Brook residents, areas where new businesses and new families are thriving. I hope that under the leadership of this now female-majority TC, Maplewood pushes us all to “get comfortable with being uncomfortable” with what it takes to evolve into the diverse, safe, affordable, inclusive, accessible, climate-conscious community we want for our families (the reason most of us moved here) — a town where all voices are heard and valued as together we create beloved community that sustains all of us.”