SOUTH ORANGE, NJ - As the election for South Orange Board of Trustees on Tuesday, May 9, draws nearer, independent candidate for Village Trustee, Nureed Saeed, sat down to talk with TAPinto SOMA about her experiences campaigning and her vision for the community.
With a platform centered on independent thought, innovation, and inclusion, Saeed said that the campaigning process has been rewarding for her because she gets a chance to meet and listen to the concerns of South Orange residents.
Saeed, who is originally from Bucks County, PA, moved with her family to South Orange in 2014. Since then, she has quickly formed a deep affection for the town. Running as an independent gives her the chance to be a “voice for the people who need it” and allows her to bring fresh, new ideas to the table, she said.
“We’re great, but we can be even better,” Saeed explained. She went on to say how amazing it is that South Orange has a large amount of diversity, but “our [local] government doesn’t reflect the diversity and the fact that South Orange is so inclusive.”
Along with her experience campaigning, Saeed said that she has been educating people about how the South Orange Board of Trustees is organized, the large role they play in legislation, and in how residents’ tax dollars are spent.
For Saeed, the importance of local government has increased over the past election year. Although Saeed’s three opponents are running together on a single slate, which Saeed believes might give the appearance that one must vote for all three, she reminded that is not true. For the three vacant seats on the Board of Trustees, voters can choose any combination of three candidates for whom to vote.
The recent presidential election was one of Saeed’s motivations behind her decision to run for Village Trustee. She noted that “democracy is flawed," in that the election results showed that the majority of the voters were not moving in the same direction as the politics of the country itself. In addition, Saeed said that she as developed deep-rooted interests in the community of South Orange, which influenced her to run for public office
“It is about how much I care about South Orange and what happens to it,” she said, adding that she wants to help the town flourish and ensure a future to which her kids can look forward..
With her 15 years of experience in the fashion, interior design, and retail industry, running for Village Trustee just made sense to her, Saeed shared.
“No one else running has this experience,” Saeed asserted, explaining that her background in negotiating multi-million dollar contracts, dealing with corporate strategy, managing global brands, and having aesthetic experience would be beneficial to the development of the downtown area and can help create a more “well-mixed city” with more variety in wholesale.
“[South Orange] needs someone who understands it and has done it,” she said.
According to Saeed, her biggest supporters so far have been her husband, Muzamil Huq, her campaign manager Kelly Quirk, and her campaign team. Her three children were also there to help her set up her campaign lawn signs. At the recurring sight of their mother’s name on the back of them, they always become overjoyed, shared Saeed.
Asked if there was something that she wanted South Orange residents to know about her, Saeed said it’s about getting to work on a long term vision for the community that she has grown to love, emphasizing that for her, it’snot about politics, fame or notoriety, or getting invited to high-profile events.
“I get to work,” she said. “I roll up my sleeves and I get to it.”