WESTFIELD, NJ – Ward 2 Westfield Town Council candidates Michael Dardia (D) and James Corcoran (R) exchanged answers and rebuttals at Wednesday night's forum for town council candidates. The event, sponsored by The Westfield Leader and moderated by Lauren Barr, was held in the packed courtroom of the municipal building at 425 East Broad Street. Members of the public were invited to send questions for the candidates prior to the event.

Topics discussed by Ward 2 candidates included:

Downtown Westfield

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“We need to insist on the development of a revised master plan with the full participation of residents and business owners,” Dardia said.

“You know, a master plan is a lot like a road map,” he said. “Most of us wouldn’t travel to an unfamiliar place without one. However, our town has not updated its master plan since 2002.”

Corcoran referred to vacancies downtown as part of an ongoing problem across the country.

“As I walk from … house to house in Ward 2, you see Amazon, you see the different boxes everyone’s ordering online,” he said. “What we need to do is focus on creating a market plan for downtown.”

Corcoran said he also planned to connect home-based businesses with landlords in town to create shared work spaces and help increase the occupancy rate.

Their Experience in Business

“I worked with a number of prestigious medical centers within New York City and in New Jersey in high level positions focusing on the budgets, on improving clinical quality outcomes and controlling costs,” Dardia said, “and I feel very strongly that these are applicable skills that I can bring to the town council.”

Dardia also said he wants to foster a culture of collaboration.

In his position as senior vice president for a real estate company, Corcoran said, he has to report to a board of investors who scrutinize financials.

Shared Services

Corcoran said that the town already shares services with Scotch Plains, and he hopes to create shared services with the county and the board of education in order to save tax-payers money.

Dardia answered, “As your next Ward 2 town councilman, I’ll advocate for increased application of county grants or shared services between Westfield and Union County, and that goes the same for the board of education.”

The forum will be shown in its entirety on TV 36 and will also be available for viewing at www.GoLeader.com. The election will take place Tuesday, Nov. 7.