It has been an honor and privilege to serve the people of Westfield as a First Ward Councilman for the past seven years. My wife Lori and I have been Westfield residents for over 20 years now. Like many of you, we love Westfield and consider ourselves fortunate to live here. We are grateful that we have been able to raise our son Christopher and daughter Carli in this very special community. I write to announce my candidacy for re-election as your Councilman so I can continue to give back to the community that has given us so much. 

Many challenges have arisen since I was first elected as a volunteer council member:  the Great Recession, Hurricane Irene and Superstorm Sandy, to name a few. All of these events put stress on the entire region, including our town and ward. While this was a difficult time for many of us, it also showed Westfield at its finest. My family saw this first-hand, as we had a tree fall through our home the evening that Sandy made its way through New Jersey.

On a personal side, one of my neighbors came over unannounced first thing the following morning with a large tarp which he painstakingly placed over the roof of our home to protect it from the elements. Another neighbor attached their generator to our house so we could have some power to literally weather the storm, while several friends and neighbors helped clear the tree debris that invaded our home. There are no words to thank them for all they did during this difficult time, and I know many of you have similar stories. So when people ask me why I am seeking re-election, I look at this special sense of community that defines Westfield – that defines the neighborhood we call home - and it inspires me to continue to serve.

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Our home is now repaired, and actually in better shape than it was before Superstorm Sandy. Likewise, I also believe that Westfield is as strong as it has ever been. In a time when our federal government still doesn’t understand the concept of a balanced budget, and Union County eagerly siphons far too large a portion of your tax dollars (delivering our town little or no value), the Westfield budget is more than sound. In fact, this year our budget comes in under the state's required two percent tax levy cap with none of the allowed exceptions, and our other exemplary financial metrics have earned the Town a Triple-A rating from Standard and Poor's who also noted that Westfield "boasts a vibrant and expansive downtown area.”

And Aspiremetro.com, the online affiliate of Aspire magazine, describes Westfield as “a thriving example of modern suburbia at its finest" while New Jersey’s Family magazine recently ranked Westfield among the "Best Mid-Sized Towns” to raise a family. While these praises are certainly appreciated, the real proof that Westfield continues along the right track is that so many people consistently choose our town as the best place to put down roots and raise their families. 

Adding to these accolades, during my service on the town council, we have improved public safety and customer service to Westfield residents. Most recently we have hired new police, fire and public works employees, including a new public works director who has taken immediate steps to further beautify our town. We have invested in new capital products, including new software and equipment for our town clerk's office and new equipment for the public works department and our public safety professionals. These items will not only further strengthen our town, but make it more efficient and our employees more productive.

We are repaving over five miles of our roads this season, the largest stretch in many years. We have done all of this without resorting to the typical borrowing and bonding that so many towns rely on. As a member of the finance committee and the chairman of the public works committee, I can't tell you how happy I am with these continuous improvement and investments, especially given the economic and other challenges that we had to overcome since 2008.

Going forward, you have my commitment that I will put the interests of Westfielders at the center of all I do as your councilman, and work to keep our town as the model other communities can only envision. I ask for your vote this coming November so I can continue to work for additional one-seat ride train service to New York, to continue to improve our parks and infrastructure, and to continue to manage our property tax dollars responsibly. You can rest assured that I am someone you can trust and who has the experience and leadership ability to keep Westfield an unrivaled place to live and raise your family.

I thank you in advance. With deepest thanks for your continued support.

Frank Arena

First Ward Councilman