Dear Westfield Neighbors,

As we approach the upcoming election in November, I want to share with you my thoughts on servant leadership and authenticity, which I feel are required of individuals in local government. I grew up in Turnersville, NJ in Gloucester County, where my father served several terms as a Town Councilman. As a young girl, I recall walking door to door with my father, getting involved in hosting events, and volunteering on campaigns. I had most of these experiences before I even went to college.

My family has always taken civic responsibility very seriously. Soon after we moved to Westfield in 2007, my husband Mark and I sought out opportunities for civic engagement. Having a father in town government, I encouraged and supported Mark to serve as Ward 3 Councilperson. I have never once regretted that decision. It takes sacrifice, it takes commitment, and it takes grit. Through faith and family, we have worked to serve this community, whether it means being present at local community events, raising awareness of families/communities in need, serving in leadership roles on organizational boards, or volunteering for school events. We also do this to set an example to our children what it means to be a servant leader, instilling in them a sense of community, and recognizing that family and community matter.

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This November, every registered voter can go to the polls and vote for the individuals who are most qualified to serve. I feel that voting is a privilege… to elect an individual who is willing, is competent, and can fulfill that obligation. From our experience, the role of town councilperson in Westfield is no simple task. It is not just showing up to the scheduled meetings to vote. It is much, much more than that. It is more than simply answering an email or text message. I will tell you firsthand, it is many hours spent visiting residents in their homes, listening to their concerns, and being present for events that occur in your community. It means having that support person back at home who understands that not only Tuesday nights are spent away from family, but frequently Saturdays mornings and Sunday evenings, as well. All of this to be able to effectively represent and communicate with residents on what is happening, as well as to build relationships. It means being inclusive and transparent. It means being accountable and not wavering on your principles.

Lastly, each voter should make a decision on an individual that they know will put Westfield first. Those who know my family can attest to our commitment to serving Westfield. There is no doubt that Mark has demonstrated his commitment and his dedication to representing not just Third Ward residents but the broader community. He is an authentic leader that builds honest relationships, and he values integrity and respect. We ask kindly for your support in re-electing Mark on November 5th.    

Sincerely,

Maria Torchia LoGrippo, PhD, MSN, RN