Republican Richard Bodmer faces Democrat Mark Parmelee in the race for the Second Ward seat on the Westfield Town Council. A candidates' forum is slated for Monday, Oct. 21, at the Municipal Building, 425 East Broad St. Voters go to the polls Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2019.
Name: Richard Bodmer
How long you’ve lived in Westfield? 49 years
Party affiliation: Republican
What are your qualifications for office? I have been an entrepreneur and successful businessman for over 40 years. I have worked with and represented some of the largest companies such as the New York Times, NASCAR, NFL, Lionel, The CLUBHOUSE, etc. I have been involved in several start-up companies such as Front Street a company whose business model was taking vacant buildings rezoning them to the demands of the community and bring them back to life. The CLUBHOUSE is a perfect example. The building had been closed since the riots in the 60s, and we converted it into New Jerseys top night spot for over 11 years.
What would your top priorities be if elected to the Town Council? To develop a task force to work with Landlords to fill all of the vacant storefronts and vacant office space. Stop spending money on programs such as the artist to paint the walk way under the train tracks. The $70,000 we are paying the artist could be spent on our parks and fields for kids. WE should invite the kids to create murals and paint these empty areas around town and develop some pride in our community.
What do think the town should be doing to be fiscally responsible? The town should quit gambling with taxpayer’s money on events and create real programs to drive business back into Westfield.
How would you work to benefit the business climate in Westfield? I would bring back Sherry Cronin, the hardest work person downtown Westfield has ever known. I would work as hard as I could to make sure that the Governors’ program to consolidate the boards of education will never allow the busing of the children of Westfield, to such town as Elizabeth, Plainfield, Linden, etc. to occur.
Is there anything else you would like the readers to know? I would work as hard as I could to make sure that the Governors’ program to consolidate the boards of education will never allow the busing of the children of Westfield, to such town as Elizabeth, Plainfield, Linden, etc. to occur.
Name: Mark Parmelee
How long you’ve lived in Westfield? 21 years
Party affiliation: Democrat
What are your qualifications for office? I’m a partner and securities litigator at a global law firm. I served as a prosecutor in the Manhattan DA’s office, where I presented more than 175 cases to the grand jury and conducted 25 criminal trials. My through-line in these experiences was constantly innovating my approach — which helped me win the first hate crime trial conviction in New York State.
Additionally, I performed in the Washington School Show for 13 years. One of the most personally transformative experiences, the show introduced me to neighbors who became great friends and established my sense of home. It’s important for me to give back to the community that has given my family and I so much.
What would your top priorities be if elected to the Town Council? I’m committed to addressing quality of life issues focused on safety, transportation and infrastructure to ensure Westfield thrives for generations to come. I look forward to:
- Supporting a Parks Strategic Plan that meets community need for recreation and athletic fields
- Working to get our fair share of Union County grants and investment, and;
- Fighting for peak one-seat rides to improve quality of life for our families.
What do think the town should be doing to be fiscally responsible? We already see that fiscal responsibility in effect. Mayor Brindle’s proactive and holistic approach to governing has, rather expeditiously, made a visible difference in our community. She led the effort to achieve Westfield’s first 0% municipal tax increase, maintained a target level of surplus at $9.5 million and our AAA bond rating, doubled our interest earned for 2018, and established the Town’s first Investment Advisory Council. All these ‘firsts’ made while investing in long neglected infrastructure, tripling road paving to 20-miles (the most in Town history) and creating community events like AddamsFest to drive economic development and centralize foot traffic downtown.
How would you work to benefit the business climate in Westfield? Westfield did not have a holistic Town plan, a basic function of municipal governance, for over a decade — and it’s why we remained reactive for so long. By implementing the Town’s first community-driven Master Plan process, Mayor Brindle is helping set Westfield on track for the future and doing the work to get us ahead of the curve.
The progress we’ve seen in the past year alone, is indicative of those efforts. New businesses have come in and are thriving, like Farinolio and Warby Parker. Others like Spice Bazaar, Midtown Authentic and Fettle + Fare expanded to meet customer demand, doubling down on their commitment to Westfield. We’ll soon have our first brewery and dining with a view — which is a direct result of newly-enacted, pro-growth ordinances allowing microbreweries and rooftop dining.
These new actions aren’t inherently special. They did, however, require — and will continue to require — imagination, capable leadership to set the vision and an energized team to execute it. I look forward to joining this effort and putting in the work to ensure these initiatives meet our economic and quality of life expectations.
Is there anything else you would like the readers to know? My wife Megan and I moved here from the West Village. Four kids and a dog later, we couldn’t imagine living anywhere else. As a hobby, I did voiceover work for the NFL, Fox Television Network and Dick’s Sporting Goods!