I was still mourning the loss of my friend, Matt Gould, when I learned that Susan Hairston would run for election to his Common Council seat. While it was so not okay that Matt was gone, how right it felt that Susan had stepped up. I was confident that Matt was smiling down on Summit and Susan.

Susan, so capable of -- and committed to -- serving Summit, stepped up enthusiastically and got to work as soon as her election was certified. At that point, none of us had any idea that life as we knew it would change dramatically just a few months later because of a pandemic. We are fortunate to have had such a highly-qualified, experienced leader to fill the vacant seat, even more so when all of us in this community were faced with the immeasurable impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. As Chair of the Safety & Health Committee and Council liaison to Emergency Management and Shared Dispatch Committee, Susan learned the needs of the Health Department and our first responders, and set out to address them while forging a stronger connection to Westfield Regional Health Services for the benefit of all who live and work in Summit.

Susan’s roots in Summit are not just deep, they are wide, and she has followed in her family members’ footsteps and immersed herself in service to our small city in various capacities over many years. While doing so, Susan was always fostering community that helped to strengthen other residents’ ties to Summit. Her participation and leadership by example are admirable. Susan is respected within and beyond Summit when she’s dealing with the complex issues that city government must confront both in ordinary, and in extraordinary times, such as 2020. 

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It has been my pleasure to have come to know Susan both personally and in a professional capacity. I am confident that Susan’s effective, forward-thinking, and collaborative leadership has made Summit a better place to live and we will continue to need more of that in the future.

To those in Ward 1, cast your vote for Susan in Column A, line 10.

Maureen Prout Alvidrez