I have been fortunate to live in Westfield since 2008. I moved to Westfield for the vibrant downtown, great schools and a small close-knit community that would be safe for my two young children. For the majority of that time, local politics was fairly uneventful, as it should be. Neighbors helped each other, kids could play outside without fear of crime, and people minded their own business. I was really proud to tell people I lived in Westfield.
Sadly, back in 2017, with the election of a new Mayor, all this has changed. Crime is on the rise, our downtown area is mostly vacant, we were recently ranked #1 town in the country to NOT start a small business, differing views are silenced and local social media accounts have become toxic. Opposing views are no longer accepted, they are silenced.
For the last four years, social media bullies have patrolled local Facebook pages condemning anyone that offers the mildest criticism of Mayor Brindle or her policies. Their focus is entirely on what political “team” everyone is on. When I voted for Mrs. Brindle back in 2017, I was excited for change and liked her ideas and forward thinking. At the time she was what the town needed to move forward, especially her focus on our downtown and her promise to create a diverse group of individuals working together to fix it.
Instead, this administration has sought out “friends” and like-minded individuals to sit on various committees and hold key positions in town that only push through the Mayor’s agenda. Not a diverse group of thought, no opposing views and if you aren’t part of their political agenda, you are not made to feel welcome.
I support robust debate and constructive criticism, but I don’t support tearing down others because they may not have the same views. A Mayor should lead by example and treat people with respect and foster an environment of diverse views.
This is why I’m supporting JoAnn Neylan for mayor. I am a registered independent voter and I want someone that will set a new tone for the town, and won’t continue to divide us along party lines. As councilwoman, JoAnn worked well with residents regardless of political affiliation. Even now, people across the political divide have come together to support her candidacy and the return to a less divisive time.
We are ONE Westfield, and I want a mayor that fosters that environment.