Dear Summit Neighbor,

You may have heard that I am running for Mayor of Summit. 

Who am I?   -  I’m very much like you.

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I’m a working business professional, a wife and a mom – complete with the minivan I said I’d never own and calendar reminders for soccer games, alongside client meetings and getting the recycling out on Thursday mornings. 

My husband and I moved to Summit 11 years ago, after a rigorous search for a town where we could send our children to great schools, live with a dynamic, involved group of neighbors, and have access to services that make Summit a place we intend to call home well past retirement.  

My husband and I share values that are reflected in our behavior and what we teach our children.  Safety first.  Tell the truth, respect others’ ideas and property, speak nicely. Don’t buy things you can’t afford.  Do your homework.  Trust is earned.  It is good that we are individuals with different skills and ideas, but we accomplish more when we work as a team.  Service to others is the best way to thank your community for the support they’ve given to you.

Why do I want to be Mayor?  - I want to Keep Summit Strong. 

I think Summit is the best small city in America.  But we can do even better.  We can preserve our values, while forging relationships and delivering services to lessen the cost for our citizens.

Recently, Council has not stood up for the values that you and I share.  Worse, when residents, staff and businesses have tried to express their views, Council shuts down—essentially ignoring input from those they see as “political opponents.” I want to help lead us back to policies of good governance that elicit the best ideas and efforts of our entire community.

Like you, I worry that economic stress has hurt our friends and families, making it more difficult for our City to maintain services, even as rising County taxes threaten our plans to grow old in Summit.  I want to help maintain our safe community, our schools and downtown while keeping Summit affordable for young families, seniors—and the teachers, police and fire fighters who are our neighbors here. 

How?  Through more shared services and greater efficiencies across the business, non-profit and municipal organizations that already serve Summit.  Our first focus needs to be on expanding existing opportunities to share public works equipment and safety responsibilities with our neighbors.  We can also better coordinate our existing public communications  and programs to bring better service with little to no cost impact; examples include Summit senior services, which are already strong but scattered and hard to navigate, support for maintenance and access to websites and wireless, and job/ life skills development for our youth by seeking connections between our District mentoring programs and downtown businesses.  This is just the tip of the iceberg.

I have the temperament and professional and community experience to bring people and organizations together, as Mayor, to create synergies that deliver better, fiscally responsible solutions. 

Why am I qualified to be Mayor?  I have a record of service to Summit, and have demonstrated success in creating partnerships that deliver assets and services with no net cost to taxpayers.

I have served two terms on the Advisory Board of Summit’s Department of Community Programs (Youth, Senior and Recreation Services) where the excellent Director, Staff and Board use best practices and creative thinking to find cost efficiencies, win grants, and generate new programs that are financially self-sustaining. 

I helped to create TryCAN, a nonprofit group that funds and promotes programs for local special-needs children and their typical peer mentors.  This program reduces the burden on special-needs families and the school district by making bullying less likely and building social skills – all at no cost to taxpayers. 

Professionally, I have more than 20 years of experience in market research and analysis.   I have worked for and with large and small consumer, commercial, and nonprofit/government-focused organizations.  Among other projects, my consulting work has included conducting financial benefit and decision analyses to drive more efficient budgeting – with proven success in building consensus among stakeholders. 

I’d like to get to know you – and offer you the chance to know me better.

You can learn more at www.eileenformanludden.org, e-mail me at eileenforsummit@gmail.com, or please feel free to call me at 917.208.9104.  Even though I have all the technological gadgets, I still prefer to chat with friends and family in person. 

You can also learn more about my terrific running mates – Susan Dillingham Hairston, Sandy Bloom, and Dennis White -- by visiting my website and clicking the links there. 

Sincerely,

Eileen Forman Ludden