This week, I knocked on my 1307th door in Ward 1! I look forward to meeting my neighbors because inevitably, I hear a great, new idea or am inspired by a story they share.

On your doorsteps, I have also heard how you have shared your ideas, talents, and eagerness to participate with the current administration, but were turned away or ignored.  Your ideas for better bike safety, improved lighting, new trees, crosswalk safety and green solutions were left on the table. One neighbor told me she’s been trying to get an answer (just a yes or no) from the council for more than three years. This is unacceptable.

As your Ward 1 councilwoman, I will apply the same high and inclusive standards I use as a volunteer and business owner, and you will always get a response from me. I’ll work with the council to invite residents of all ages and experience to participate. Applications for board and committee positions will be open and well-communicated, and new commissions to explore opportunities around things like transportation, health and safety, technology, arts and entertainment and senior services will be put in place. Our town leadership will be accountable to you to publicly communicate the short and long-term goals for Westfield, and to lead and assist each commission to achieve those goals.  

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Just imagine what we can accomplish if our governing culture is rooted in the idea that all voices matter. By harnessing all the talent and enthusiasm that lives inside of Westfield, we can improve our quality of life on the shoulders of many versus few and enable those with great ideas — an indoor farmers market, a senior center, bike lanes, a micro-brewery, an arts center, a shopper incentive program — to champion them with the guidance and support of the council.

I’m also excited to engage our youth and seniors in Westfield so we can put their ideas, energy, and experience to work. I’ve been a youth mentor and have worked with seniors in our community for years, so I know the impact these folks can have — and will have — on Westfield, if given the chance. My campaign has benefitted from a high school intern program, envisioned by teenagers, that has grown to 50+ in numbers, and some of our best ideas have come from the youth and the senior volunteers.   

I will never underestimate what you — the residents of Westfield — are capable of. I know you are dedicated, passionate and fiercely talented. and you deserve the opportunity to put your skills to work for our mutual benefit.

Let’s work together to make big things happen in Westfield! I humbly ask for your vote on November 7th.

Linda Habgood

Westfield, NJ