Westfield mayoral candidate Dave Haas officially kicked-off his campaign yesterday with a “listening tour” that included stops in downtown Westfield, at the Sunrise Assisted Living Center, and a meeting with students who are members of the Westfield High School Young Democratic Club.  Haas started his tour at Starbucks where he listened to residents talk about their concerns.

In Starbucks he was asked about Mayors Against Illegal Guns.  Haas explained,“it’s a bipartisan group of over 800 mayors from big cities and small towns like Westfield, which work together to develop rational approaches to curbing gun violence.  I think it’s critical for Westfield’s mayor to be engaging in that conversation.”

During his tour of downtown, Haas heard concerns expressed by residents and shop owners about the lack of parking, about a perceived decrease in the number of shoppers doing business in downtown Westfield, about overly aggressive parking enforcement and the health of the town’s trees.

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For his second stop of the day, Haas visited the Sunrise Assisted Living Center, where his 91-year-old father, Felix, and his stepmother, Margaret, live.  Haas’s father fought in WWII for democracy and against Nazism.  Haas’s son, Jacob, who is an officer serving on a destroyer in the Pacific, accompanied his father.    In a meeting with more than 20 seniors Haas was applauded when he spoke of the need to make Westfield as “senior friendly” as it can be.  “People like my Dad who fought for this country deserve our love and respect,” he said. 

Lastly, Haas headed home to meet with members of the Westfield High School Young Democratic Club.  Haas praised the teens for wanting to get involved.  He urged the students to be pro-active with the causes of the day and not to give-in to cynicism.

About his first day of campaigning, Haas said, that it was “wonderful greeting and listening to so many residents of our town.  Young and old, and everyone in-between, Westfield’s residents are the best,” said Haas.

Dave Haas has served on the Town Council for the last eight years representing the Third Ward.  He has a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from the University of California at Berkeley and now teaches electrical engineering at NJIT.  He has lived in Westfield with his wife, Dana Stevens, for 21 years.  His son is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and his daughter is a student at NYU.