The five candidates for South Orange-Maplewood Board of Education will host four open houses on Sundays in October at the Maplewood Library’s Hilton Branch on Springfield Avenue.
The series is the brainchild of Marcy Thompson, one of the Studio B “Honchos” and a former Cultural Affairs Director for the Township of Maplewood.
“Each candidate will have their own time at the library where the public can stop by and chat, check in about issues, and generally get to know the folks who are running for the Board of Education,” wrote Thompson in an email.
She noted that, although the library has been incredibly helpful, the open houses are not library-sanctioned events as the library cannot endorse candidates. The Maplewood Library is simply providing the space for the open houses.
“My reason for doing this: aside from debates, there are few times when the public at large can informally get to know more about the candidates,” wrote Thompson. “Although there are many people holding coffees, those aren’t really open to the public, and are by their nature exclusive — and all but impossible for people who work during the week.”
The four Sundays are as follows:
- October 9: Stephanie Lawson-Muhammad & James Davis (the two are running together)
- October 16: Susie Adamson
- October 23: Anthony Mazzocchi
- October 30: Johanna Wright
Each candidate will have 90 minutes in the library’s Meeting Room (from 2:00 – 3:30 p.m.) – where they can use the time and space as they see fit. I picture it as an open house/ drop in — but really it’s up to them to use the opportunity to reach constituents. Some of the burden will be on their campaigns to get people there, but I will help too. Unfortunately, the library can’t technically advertise these events, and kind of has to stay out of it (so they don’t appear to favor any one candidate). So, we will need to get the word out in other ways.
The Hilton Neighborhood Association is hosting a Board of Ed Candidates Forum on October 20 at the DeHart Community Center.
The South Orange-Maplewood Community Coalition on Race is hosting a Board of Education Candidates Forum on October 25 at Marshall School in South Orange.
A forum moderated by South Orange Village President Sheena Collum and Maplewood Mayor Vic DeLuca was held earlier this month at The Baird in South Orange and hosted by the South Orange Maplewood Cares About Schools Facebook page. See the video here.
Click on photos of the candidates to enlarge: