Like many Americans, I have been extremely focused on national politics during the past few months. Then I had a conversation with Nureed Saeed. Within minutes of our conversation, I realized that I’ve forgotten our local government is just as important as our national government. The decisions that our local government makes directly affect our town, our lives, and our children’s lives. We need to select leaders in our town who have the skills, passion, and experience needed to make impactful contributions to our town.

This is why I am voting for Nureed. While I was immediately struck by her intelligence, warmth, and thoughtful vision for South Orange, three aspects about Nureed convinced me that, as a Trustee on the board, she would help make our amazing town even better.

Nureed has Retail Development Experience. While our downtown has many flourishing and exciting retail stores, many of us have lamented about the empty retail spaces and lack of an overall “community feel” downtown. Nureed is not only passionate about enhancing our downtown she has years of professional Retail Development experience. She knows how to enhance retail space because she has create such retail environments in her previous career. We need Nureed’s retail expertise so that our downtown can achieve it’s potential and will reflect and support our vibrant community.

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Nureed is a thoughtful listener. As we talked, Nureed outlined her vision for South Orange and shared her experience and ideas, but most of all, she truly listened. She heard the concerns I raised, considered my questions carefully, and responded with specifics and sometimes, with more questions. It is clear to me that Nureed isn’t interested in impressing people with answers that sound good: She is interested in exploring ideas and finding solutions. I am confident that if she is elected on May 9, she will listen carefully to South Orange residents – to all of our concerns, questions, and suggestions,- and provide thoughtful, tempered leadership based on our values and our voices.

Nureed is an independent thinker. She is also an entrepreneur with young children who is interested in investing in South Orange for the longterm. She will provide a unique perspective for the families of South Orange. Her voice will be her own.

I enthusiastically support Nureed’s campaign for Board of Trustees. She has done her homework and has deep knowledge of, and commitment to, our town. She is a thoughtful listener and independent thinker who will work hard to ensure that downtown South Orange will flourish, and that our voices will be heard. I hope that you will vote for her on May 9.

Barbara Santoro