Shirley Maia-Cusick knows the power of the American dream first-hand.
Born in Brazil to a traditional Christian family, Shirley got her forward-looking ideas from her father and her religious grounding from her mother. From both, she inherited family values, honesty, integrity, and a solid work ethic.
She attended primary school and university in Brazil, earning her law degree.
But it was in America where her career took off. She initially came to the United States intending to return to Brazil after additional schooling. But she fell in love with America and immigrated for good in the early 1990’s.
“New Jersey gave me everything,” she says of the state she calls home.
She learned quickly that in America, hard work can take you to the top, no matter where you’re from. She learned that our Constitution is still binding. And she experienced the sweet air of freedom.
Shirley is a wife to her husband Bob, a retired law enforcement officer, and a grandmother of six – three granddaughters and three grandsons. It was her first, American-born grandson, who set her life on a new path.
“He came to me and said, ‘Grandma, I’m going to be a marine,'” as Shirley tells it. “And I said, ‘oh no, we’re going to talk about this.’” She sat him down and told him she had better, safer ideas for her first born grandson. But he was insistent.
It flipped her heart.
Her grandson was willing to sacrifice his future for his country. But what was his country doing for his future?
This question set her on a path to engage in local and national politics.
Shirley often says, “I want my America back.” She’s talking about the America she fell in love with when she immigrated here 30 years ago. She’s talking about an America that was safe, an America that had family values, an America where people respected one another.
Shirley wants to restore the America she loves for her grandchildren – and yours. She also believes it’s time for New Jersey to be represented by someone who will fight with integrity and take on corruption. This latina mama-bear is running for the United States House of Representatives to do just that. Shirley makes her home in Medford with her husband Bob.