I am running for Mayor of Westfield. I believe as Mayor I can contribute to keeping Westfield a great place to live and making it even better.
This is the first of several articles I will be writing during this campaign about my vision for Westfield’s future. By the election I hope you will agree that I am the better candidate to lead Westfield for the next four years.
We live in challenging times. The economic recovery from the Great Recession is slow. While home prices have come back a bit, we need to recognize that if we are to continue to prosper our town government must take action wherever it can be to improve our quality of life and make Westfield an even more attractive place to buy a home. The unfortunate fact is our town government has been adrift these past few years and we need a change.
Westfield needs a Mayor that sets goals for our town. Without goals we can’t measure where we are and where we are going. Without goals we won’t be doing what is necessary to keep Westfield a great town. Here are some of my goals:
· We need to recognize that Westfield needs direct train service to New York City and as Mayor I will work relentlessly to achieve this goal. This would benefit not only our commuters but increase the values of all of our homes.
· We need to recognize that Westfield needs to be concerned with how our town looks. We lost 1,000 trees in the last storm and many more than that amount in the past fifteen years. We need a town program to encourage residents to beautify Westfield by planting trees. We also need to make Central Avenue an inviting entrance to Westfield rather than a run-down stretch of missing or half empty buildings.
· We need to recognize that Westfield needs to be a safe place to live. We need enough firefighters so they can use the expensive equipment we pay for and to allow them to enter a burning home to put out fires. We need bike paths in Westfield to allow safe rides to parks, the downtown and for our children riding to school.
· We need to recognize that if our downtown is to survive we must reexamine the parking problem. We need to be able to shop in our town without spending an inordinate amount of time looking for a parking space. Parking is critical for retaining economically healthy businesses in our downtown. I recognize that this is not an easy problem to solve, especially in these hard economic times, but our town government must have the presence of mind to at least examine possible solutions.
· We need to do more with less. Our taxes keep rising and we must examine every possible solution for saving the town’s money. We need to do an energy audit of the town’s operations but the existing administration has repeatedly turned down the offer of outside funding to do an audit. This makes no sense because it would be good for the environment, the town and the taxpayer.
· We need to recognize that Westfield needs a non-partisan town government that functions with integrity and transparency. We should advertise on the town’s web site for volunteers to fill the town boards with the best possible people to serve independent of political party affiliations. I believe our residents deserve answers when they ask questions at Town Council meetings and that we need a Mayor who can admit when a mistake has been made.
I grew up in a small Midwestern town and was raised to value hard work, honesty and openness. I have a B.S. in Engineering Physics from the University of Illinois and a doctorate in Electrical Engineering from the University of California. In graduate school, I met and married my smart capable wife Dana Stevens. I took my first career position in New Jersey and we came east 27 years ago. We chose to buy a home in Westfield between the births of our first and second child because it had great schools, safe neighborhoods, a wonderful downtown and interesting people and things to do.
Our children grew up in Westfield and I helped coach girls’ softball and boys’ ice hockey. I’ve taught Sunday school, been involved in Westfield Rotary, and was president of the Westfield High School Ice Hockey Association. I served on the board of adjustment for 6 years and on town Council for nine years. On Council, I have served on the Public Works Committee, the Laws and Rules Committee, the Finance Committee and the Public Safety, Transportation & Parking Committee as well as the Solid Waste Committee. I have done all of this because I care about the town we live in. I believe in Westfield. I ask for your vote to become your Mayor this November. To learn more, please visit my campaign website - http://davehaas4mayor.com and “like me” on Facebook - www.facebook.com/Davehaas4mayor .