LETTER: Herman Is Best Choice for Experience, Action & Inclusive Leadership on Maplewood Township Committee

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Three candidates are running for two Maplewood Township Committee seats in 2024: incumbents Nancy Adams and Jamaine Cripe, and Malia Herman. The primary election is on Tuesday, June 4, 2024. The general election takes place on Tuesday, November 5, 2024. The deadline for submitting a Letter to the Editor for the Primary election is Tuesday, May 28, at 5 p.m. Read our Election Guidelines here. Read all of our Election Coverage here.

I met Malia Herman nearly a decade ago at a local political campaign event. As we spoke, it was very clear that Malia was well-versed on the issues.  She tapped into her experience as a political reporter for the Associated Press to think critically, ask tough questions, analyze and contextualize issues while recognizing important nuances from a local, state and national lens.

Malia is not all talk. Her strong track record of action is compelling and wide-reaching. When she and her family moved to Maplewood in 2014, Malia immediately became involved in our local schools as a parent volunteer.

The next year there was an incident at Maplewood Middle School in June 2015, when a student brought a loaded gun to the school. Although, her own children were not middle school aged at that time, Malia sprang into action as a founding board member of the Maplewood chapter of Moms Demand Action to advocate for common sense gun laws – and she galvanized our local community to focus on this issue.

Over the years, Malia has not simply watched our South Orange-Maplewood Board of Education meetings from the sidelines, she has been an active and vocal participant. Malia has spoken out consistently in support of our most vulnerable and marginalized students – particularly neurodivergent and disabled children, questioning and shedding light on policies which have done more harm than good, being an effective champion for change for families and supporting some of our most beloved educators.

Malia has also demonstrated her commitment to students and residents in our town by serving as a long-time member of the Maplewood Pool Advisory Committee. Her hard work and advocacy have played an integral role in bringing forth the important reforms the town has made on pool accessibility and affordability.

As a busy working mom with school-aged children and an active community volunteer, Malia has also role modeled perseverance and resilience in the pursuit of her own personal goals. An avid runner, to commemorate a milestone birthday she committed to running 40 races in her 40th year. Many of us watched in absolute awe as she took us all on the journey with her – and literally crisscrossed communities near and far including SOMA. In the end she achieved her goal… it was epic, bold and so incredibly inspiring. Because when Malia says she’s in….she follows through and gives it her all.

I’ve long admired her talent, determination, discipline and work ethic, which are the key attributes that we need on the Maplewood Township Committee.

That’s why I was excited when Malia announced her candidacy for Maplewood Township Committee because having a diverse slate of credible and qualified candidates in our local elections including diverse female leadership representation matters. As a community, we share many important values, yes, but we are not a monolith.

Malia does the work and gets stuff done. She’s a unifying force, who actively listens and backs it up with action. She is an inclusive leader for the people – especially our most vulnerable and has changed the definition and the narrative for what inclusivity actually means in our town.  She does not shy away from challenging issues or simply abstain when things get hard. Malia is an independent thinker who consistently addresses issues head on offering a thoughtful and balanced point of view. She has influenced and shaped some of our local policies because she is attune to our community’s needs. Malia is the change agent that we need. And she will represent and serve our town well.

Please join me and vote for Malia Herman for Maplewood Township Committee.

Vote by mail or on Primary Election Day on Tuesday, June 4.


Marie McGehee

Maplewood resident

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