There is a new energy and engagement that has arisen since November. I, like many others, am paying attention to how my elected officials are responding to the needs of my friends and neighbors. I think many of us focus on the Presidential election every four years and then go about our business during all other election cycles. The problem with this, to paraphrase Tip O’Neill, is that all politics are local, especially local politics.
To that end, I am so excited to see a new group of candidates running for town council and mayor of Westfield. One shining example is Linda Habgood who is running for town council in Ward 1 as a Democrat. While I wish that our town council was nonpartisan, like the school board, we must work within the confines of our system. To that end, close to 200 people of all political leanings attended Linda’s kickoff event last week at the home of longtime Westfield residents. The energy at the event gave me great confidence in Linda’s ability to work across party lines to better our entire town.
As an alumna of the Washington School Show, Linda knows what happens when we pool our talent and energy and welcome everyone to join. To this end, Linda wants to build on a culture of collaboration based on what you know, rather than who you know. She has promised to publicly announce board position vacancies and allow for an easy on-line application so that fresh ideas are brought into the room where decisions are made.
Linda is uniquely qualified to guide our town during this transition to the “new economy.” In her professional life, Linda co-owns a small business that facilitates direct investment in areas that better the lives of people across the globe. Linda will use what she learned at Wharton and her expertise in finance not only to maintain our AAA credit rating, but to use it to solve pressing problems such as a stagnating downtown and infrastructure decay. She will look for new revenue streams, rather than putting the burden on already strapped property tax payers. For these reasons and many others, I will be voting for Linda Habgood for Town Council Ward 1 on Nov. 7.