By MADDY VITALE
Marie Hayes is excited for the next chapter in her storied career. She’s worked in law enforcement and politics and her newest endeavor is working as the Cape May County Surrogate.
While she has only been in the position for weeks, she already feels at home, she said in an interview Tuesday. The Surrogate’s Office helps families with wills, adoptions and guardianships, among other matters.
Hayes, of Ocean City, said in an interview that she is enjoying her new job and learning about it while bringing her strengths to the position that she has honed over the years.
“My extensive knowledge of being in the Cape May County Prosecutor’s Office for 29 years and working in the court system, both criminal and civil, will serve me well representing Cape May County as the Surrogate,” she said.
She worked in the Prosecutor’s Office from the late 1970s through 2009. She rose to the rank of captain.
She began the position in July after a private swearing-in ceremony. On Monday, she was sworn in during a public ceremony at the historic court house building at 9 North Main Street in Cape May Court House.
Sen. Michael Testa performed the oath of office. Hayes’ son, Henry Lloyd held the bible, while her husband, Lloyd, daughter, Danielle and son-in-law, Vincent, watched the ceremony.
While the surrogate serves for a five-year term, Hayes will hold the position just until after the general election this fall. She is the Republican candidate for surrogate. She will run against Democratic candidate, Beverly McCall in November. McCall, of Ocean City, is a local attorney. She received enough write in votes to run.
Hayes, who served as vice director of the Cape May County Board of Commissioners, was nominated by Gov. Phil Murphy and confirmed earlier this summer by the New Jersey Senate to fill the vacancy created when former Surrogate Dean Marcolongo left the post to become a Superior Court Judge.
She said that in addition to thanking her family for their support, she has to thank the political leaders who believed in her.
“I am extremely honored to have received the support and faith from my Republican Chairman Michael Donohue and Sen. Michael Testa,” she said. “To be confirmed by the Governor and the full affirmative vote by all the Senators, I am truly honored and humbled.”
Hayes said she is not thinking about the upcoming election. She is just working hard in her new role and enjoying the fact that she gets to serve constituents in the same way as she did when she served in the Prosecutor’s Office protecting victims with compassion, she said.
“When clients come into the Surrogates Office, especially after a family member has passed, it is an extremely difficult time,” Hayes said.
While Hayes filled the unexpired term of Marcolongo, her position on the Cape May County Board of Commissioners also needed to be filled.
Hayes was re-elected to a three-year term on the Cape May County Board of Commissioners in 2022. She was first sworn into office in 2013 to fill an unexpired term on what was then called the Cape May County Freeholder Board. She was re-elected in 2013, 2016, 2019 and 2022.
Her replacement on the Cape May County Board of Commissioners is former Ocean City Councilman Bob Barr.
Hayes and her husband, Lloyd, a Navy veteran, have been married for 42 years.
In addition to their daughter, Danielle and son, Henry Lloyd, they had a daughter, Megan, who passed away three years ago, who is always in their hearts, Hayes said.