Post Eagle Newspaper


Apr 20, 2024

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New Jersey

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New Jersey Residents
Send A Rhodes Scholar
To Congress

by James Dombrowski

The residents of the Seventh Congressional District in New Jersey, a district comprised of the most counties, have sent a Polonian Rhodes Scholar to Congress.  Congressman Tom Malinowski was kind enough to sit down with the Post Eagle and give his first New Jersey interview in his temporary District 7 office.

Congressman Malinowski took the oath of office on January 3rd as part of the Democratic wave that took back the Congress from Republican control.  “What’s missing today in our leaders is the will to compromise and work together. It’s important to work things out in a practical manner putting aside egos,” noted Congressman Malinowski. 

The modest Malinowski was born in Slupsk, Poland to an educated family. His mom Joanna Rostropowicz graduated from the University of Warsaw in 1961, and his dad Tomasz was a Polish Film Maker. They lived in Brwiwow. The parents divorced and mom met Blair Clark, a CBS News Director and journalist. Divorce can often be detrimental to a child, but in the case of Tom, having two dads won him the “lottery of life.” Poland under the strong armed control of the Soviet Union at that time had a repressive corrupt government that his mom was happy to leave behind when given the chance to come to America with her new husband and little boy in 1971. They moved to Princeton, NJ where Mr. Clark was residing. (The commute from Princeton to Manhattan by train is an easy commute if the trains are running properly.)

Congressman Malinowski has taken up infrastructure and the Hudson River Tunnel as one of his major priorities. The lowering of the Federal Tax credit (SALT) to only $10,000 is also an issue that affects the residents of the Seventh Congressional District and Tom has addressed it as well.

Tom graduated from Princeton High School in 1983.  Growing up in Princeton, his childhood saw him play baseball and become a Yankee, Giants, and Knicks fan.  As both his dad and step dad were journalists, Tom took a liking to writing and wrote for the Princeton High School newspaper “The Tower”. Tom was thrilled to become an intern in the office of newly elected Senator Bill Bradley who won two NBA titles with the Knicks.

With mom earning a PhD. from the University of Pennsylvania, and Blair Clark a Harvard graduate, Tom picked the University of California at Berkeley to study Political Science (UCB Class of ‘87).  When I asked Tom what lead him to pick Berkeley, he said he was intrigued by sunny California.  His excellent grades and keen mind got him accepted as a Rhodes Scholar to Oxford University – St. Antony’s College where he received a Masters of Philosophy in 1991.

During his youth, the family would vacation in New England so it was fitting that Congressman Malinowski began his government career as a Special Assistant for Massachusetts Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan in 1988.

The brilliant Pole in the early 90’s worked for the Institute for Human Sciences in Vienna, Austria and The Ford Foundation where Tom got practical education and knowledge of world affairs. During the Obama Administration, Mr. Malinowski had the honor of serving as the Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor. His years of government service coupled with his brilliant mind and his practical approach to good government should make the proud Pole a fine leader in Congress.

Congressman Malinowski may be a Rhodes Scholar and you can see his brilliance when you chat with him, yet his focus is on practical undertakings that will help solve problems. The Congressman kept stressing the importance of compromise and that the future challenges must be met by leaders who do not let their egos get in the way of progress. What should not be lost is Tom’s practical approach to problems that can be solved when people work together.  He spoke about fractions and divisions not lending itself to good government.

The Seventh District in New Jersey is made up of six counties: Essex with one town, Millburn including Short Hills, the entire Hunterdon County and parts of Morris, Somerset, Union and Warren County. Malinowski’s district borders Pennsylvania with historic Phillipsburg on the Delaware River. The vastness and variety of the towns making up the Seventh District which has a high income and college graduation level is served well by a Rhodes Scholar.

Congressman Malinowski resides in Rocky Hill, New Jersey.

Tom Malinowski being sworn in to his first term in Congress by Congressman Steny Hoyer, the House Majority Leader who represents the 5th District in Maryland. Steny has been serving in Congress since 1981.  The freshman congressman took the oath of office with James Madison in the backdrop – a fitting symbol of American diplomacy and compromise