BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - Congressman Tom Malinowski, (D) of New Jersey’s 7th congressional district held a Zoom meeting on Wednesday morning April 15th with juniors of Ben Bolger’s Advanced Placement United States History Class.
On entering the room, the Congressman set the students with ease by talking about how he too felt like he was ‘living in a cave’ and that he missed playing in the Congressional Baseball game, while he cycled through a few Zoom background scenes to illustrate each point. After giving a brief opening statement about Congress and Covid-19 response and the importance of Social Distancing, the Congressman took student questions.
Students had submitted questions in advance concerning everything from specifics about the allocation of money from the CARES act to more general questions about when he thought that the state would open and what it was like to be a member of congress. Congressman Malinowski answered a question from each student and then opened the floor to general questions from the students. Throughout the hour-long Q & A session the Congressman fielded student questions with humor and candor and encouraged students to become involved and let their voice be heard.
GLHS students were enthusiastic about the experience. “It was amazing to do a Q&A with our local representative, Tom Malinowski” said Desmond Lam. “His answers on questions ranging from COVID-19 to working in Congress were insightful. I have a lot of respect for him reaching out to students like me because it promotes civic engagement.”
Riley Fluharty, who the congressman encouraged to reach out to his office for help getting PPE for Supermarket workers, felt that " Mr. Malinowski talking with us today shows the people of New Jersey that he is willing to engage in productive conversation with students and maintain the discourse that this democracy is built on during this great strife in American History."
For some students talking to the Congressman resonated on the personal level. “Congressman Malinowski inviting us for a zoom conference for an hour today was very admirable,” said Mackenzie Pierce. “I am extremely impressed with Congressman Malinowski’s involvement in the community, and I am excited to find ways to support him, as he has done for us.” Brianna Cagan felt that “Congressman Malinowski taking time out of his day to speak with us and his articulate answers to our questions inspired me to want to go into the field of politics even more.”