Letter to the Editor Written by Liz Dircks in Flanders published on 2/19/22 in Mount Olive Chronicle
TO THE EDITOR: When you’ve lived the entirety of your life in northwestern New Jersey, you tend to internalize the idea of this area as a solid red wall of Republican influence. In 2018, Tom Malinowski begged to differ. My husband and I first encountered Malinowski at an event in summer of that year. He bounced from table to table with ease, listening attentively to those lucky enough to snag a minute of his time. It would be the first of many events where Malinowski, equal parts pragmatist and (his words) policy wonk, demonstrated his eagerness to embody constituent interests. In the nearly four years he has represented me, my respect for Malinowski, and his wholehearted rejection of political nihilism, hasn’t wavered. His perspective — that of an immigrant who chose this country, and has spent his career challenging it to live up to its lofty ideals — coaxed me back from the brink. We sink or swim on our collective ability to distinguish good public servants from opportunists; Malinowski has handily proven himself the former. Galvanized by America’s palpable authoritarian shift, Malinowski leveraged his expertise in diplomacy and human rights and ran for office, while I joined coalitions of like-minded locals and canvassed for the first time on his behalf. It wasn’t easy for an introvert like myself to “practice corporeal politics,” as author Timothy Snyder advocates. What aided me was knowing the person I was volunteering for would have my back the moment he stepped onto the House floor — and he has.