I am a Ward 1 resident, an attorney, a mom of two Franklin students, and a member of the PTO Board of Franklin School, and I am proud to support Linda Habgood for town council. I would like to highlight what I believe are three of Linda’s greatest strengths: her professional experience, her long track record of service to our community and schools, and her responsive, open-minded approach to governing.
First, Linda has an MBA from Wharton and has spent her entire career in finance, leading private equity and debt financing deals worth hundreds of millions of dollars on behalf of clients around the world. Over the last four years, Linda has used that financial expertise to help Westfield. As chair of the town’s Finance Policy Committee, Linda found over $1 million of taxpayer money sitting in bank accounts without a purpose (referred to by some as “slush funds”). Linda identified millions more in uncollected receivables. Linda also personally negotiated a higher interest rate for the surplus account, earning the town an extra $300,000 in interest in 2018 alone. Simply put, Linda’s financial acumen is unique among the council (sitting and prospective members), and we, literally, cannot afford to lose her expertise.
Second, Linda immersed herself in our community long before she was a candidate for council. When her sons (now in college) were little, Linda served as the Finance Chair of the PNS&K Board. In 2005, Linda was co-head of the Citizens Action Committee that advocated for the Centralized Kindergarten Bond, which enabled the creation of Lincoln School. More recently, when her sons were in high school, Linda served as the Fundraising Chair of the Westfield High School PTSO. Linda has also served on the board of the New Jersey Festival Orchestra and is a veteran youth mission trip advisor at the Presbyterian Church. This shows me that Linda’s heart is in the right place – indeed, she worked hard for Westfield long before anyone was watching.
Last but not least, Linda has conducted herself as councilperson with utmost civility and integrity. Linda is kind, respectful, and exceedingly well prepared for council meetings. When I have reached out to Linda with concerns, primarily about traffic issues on my street, Linda promptly returned my calls, listened to my concerns, and considered my ideas with an open mind. While we may not have seen eye-to-eye on every issue, I know that Linda reaches decisions carefully, and only after analyzing available data, considering the views of her constituents, and exercising her good judgment.
For these reasons and more, Linda has my vote, and I hope she has yours, too.