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At a special social studies class last week at The Bridge Academy, a school for students (ages 8-18) with language-based learning disabilities such as dyslexia, auditory processing disorder, ADHD and dysgraphia, Assemblywoman Liz Muoio and Lawrence Township Mayor David Maffei both appeared as guest speakers.The school, located in Lawrence Township, currently serves 65 students from over 32 school districts throughout central New Jersey.

Susan Morris, Director of Education, introducing guest speakers
Susan Morris, Director of Education, introducing guest speakers

To an audience of over 30 high school students and their social studies teachers, Scott Fort and Brad Gingrich, Mayor David Maffei shared a bit about his background and how he came into politics. “When I was approached to run for council seat, I had no political experience,” said Maffei, whose educational and professional background is in chiropractic medicine.

Maffei gave an overview of Lawrence Township’s governing body, its function, how one gets elected to office, and the mayor’s responsibilities. When asked what he likes least about holding office Maffei laughed and said, “Early morning meetings!” Maffei added about the importance of volunteers and non-profit organizations such as the Lawrence Hopewell Trail (LHT).

“The road of life has many twists and turns, sometimes rocky, but look at the horizon and see the light. Take that path and you should succeed,” said Mayor Maffei.

Assemblywoman Liz Muoio shared about how much she loved government as early as high school, growing up in Michigan, and her to work in a congressional office in Washington DC while going to law school at night.

“I always saw government as a path of changing things I would like to see changed — and there are many ways to be a force of change in your community even without being in government,” said Muoio, who has now been a resident of Pennington, New Jersey for 21 years, and began her New Jersey political career as a Pennington Borough council member.

“You can get involved regardless of whether you are in your hometown or not — it is just a matter of getting involved,” she said. “Local government is very important for your day-to-day needs. Local elections matter — it really affects the things you and your parents deal with every day.”

Both Assemblywoman Muoio and Mayor Maffei answered student questions regarding the nature of their individual positions, pay scale and whether individuals who hold these positions typically have additional employment. Muoio also fielded questions from students about NJDOT project funding and her vote on the gas tax, giving the students insight into her decision-making and policies.

When asked about the presidential election, Assemblywoman Muoio responded, “At least people are paying attention to politics and they are registering to vote and it has people asking questions about what they want to see in a candidate.”

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