The residents of Westfield love our town as a standard of excellence, but we cannot rest on our laurels. We, like all towns and cities today, must continually evolve to meet the fast-paced changes in the financial and retail environment of today’s world.   We must change our approach and prepare Westfield for the coming years.  In order to do that we need new leaders with vision and enthusiasm. Both are critical if we are to successfully face these challenges. With new leadership, we can achieve progress and immediate action.

Our Town needs individuals in government who have experience in the business world and who have proven analytical and leadership skills. These are the characteristics that candidates for our mayor and town council members must have.  Shelley Brindle, candidate for mayor, and Linda Habgood, candidate for Ward 1 council person, are two candidates who have these skills.  Shelley and Linda understand that you need to continue to evolve and change in this fast-paced digital world.

Shelley Brindle and Linda Habgood are also proponents of an updated, revised master plan. Westfield has a master plan from 2002.  Ask yourselves, are there any businesses running today using a 15-year-old master plan?  Shelley has already met with leaders of other towns and municipalities to understand their “best practices”.  Linda has knocked on nearly 1,500 doors in Ward 1 to meet with her neighbors to hear their ideas.  Have you read Shelley’s ideas to address our downtown parking problem and Linda’s 2017 platform for change?  Their vision is an amalgam of proven best practices and new ideas from our Westfield citizens.  Shelley and Linda are the proven leaders who will forge ahead with positive solutions for our town.   

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It is time for new leadership in our town government.  We have virtually had the same mayor and town council members for the past 12 years.  Residents have offered their valuable ideas and solutions during this time; but they have not been enacted.  I know this from firsthand experience.  In 2004, I helped lead a citizen town parking task force which conducted months of research resulting in a substantive parking solution submitted to the mayor.  The mayor at that time ignored the traffic findings and decided to build a parking deck in a location that did not fit with the findings.   Mayor McDermott made his plan part of the election and the plan was defeated 78 to 22 percent.  Very little has been done since then to solve our downtown parking problem.

For these reasons, I encourage my friends and neighbors to get out and vote for Shelley Brindle and Linda Habgood on November 7th.  I know they will take positive action to meet the challenges Westfield faces today.

Jim Baker