WESTFIELD, NJ — Seeking to oust the Democratic majority-led town council, the Westfield Republican Committee on Wednesday announced a slate of candidates running for the offices of mayor and town council.
JoAnn Neylan, a former Westfield councilwoman, said in a news release that she is running for mayor on a platform of unifying Westfield. She is among the five candidates — one council candidate for each ward — the Republicans announced are running. As of Wednesday, the Westfield Democratic Committee had yet to announce candidates.
“I’m running to reunite Westfield around excellent public service,” Neylan said. “We need to get back to talking to our neighbors and working together to solve the problems facing our town. As your mayor, I will listen to all residents — ensuring every person’s voice is heard — and I will always put politics aside and do what is best for Westfield.”
Neylan, a former Brooklyn, New York, assistant district attorney, is the public defender in Mountainside. She served as Westfield’s 2nd Ward Councilwoman from 2004 to 2019 and is a former finance policy chairwoman.
“We are growing the government in terms of events, in terms of increasing the size of the budgets of boards, teams and commissions all while using surplus, which took years of planning and controlled spending to achieve,” Neylan then said.
Candidates have until April 5 to file nominating petitions to run in the June 8 primary for town council. As of Wednesday afternoon, no candidates had filed petitions with the town clerk’s office to run, Town Clerk Tara Rowley said.
Running for the Ward 1 council seat is Amanda Como, a small business owner, who has lived in Westfield for 14 years.
“Most recently it feels like there’s a toxic divide trickling down for the national political scene,” Como said. “I am a helper and a leader by nature and have decided to take action to run and serve my community in the hopes of bringing us forward together.”
Running for the Ward 2 council seat is Denise Garrett. She works as America’s Head of Operations Compliance at the financial institution Morgan Stanley.
“I am ready and eager to bring my leadership experience and business savvy mindset to the Westfield Town Council as a candidate for Ward 2,” Garrett said. “I am committed to putting community before partisan politics, and as councilwoman, I will champion transparency and communication, fiscal responsibility and accountability.”
Running for the Ward 3 council seat is Shawn Mullen, a 22-year Westfield resident and retired FBI agent who serves in the Army Reserve.
“When serving this country in law enforcement and the military, politics wasn’t even an afterthought,” Mullen said. “Serving on local government should be no different. I believe in putting community first and giving back as evidenced by my background.”
Running for the Ward 4 council seat is James Restivo. He works at a company that produces organic and all-natural sweeteners. He markets to and manages national sales accounts, the release said. The New Brunswick-based company is Suzanne’s Specialties.
“At the local level, it is important to have a bias towards action and get things done,” Restivo said. “The only way we can overcome the challenges before us today is as a unified Westfield, putting party politics aside.”
The Democratic Committee's chairwoman, Rupa Motwani, said that while the Democrats have yet to announce, they would be doing so soon.
“We’ll announce our Westfield together slate soon,” Motwani said. “We’re looking forward to running on our record of success: holding property taxes steady, rebuilding long neglected infrastructure and laying the foundation for a newly imagined downtown.”
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