I’m writing to add my voice to the chorus of First Ward residents calling for the re-election of Emily Root as our Town Council representative.
This is both an important choice and an easy one. Important because it comes at a time when Westfield will be making critical decisions to secure its future, and easy because Councilwoman Root has already demonstrated during her council tenure that she takes the time, does the work, and takes seriously the responsibility of representing the concerns and interests of her First Ward constituents in the context of overall town governance.
Councilwoman Root is a constantly cheerful, energetic and positive presence in our town. She is at just about every event that supports and builds collegiality and community. She communicates with residents in the First Ward and all over Westfield with the same positive energy. We see her. We hear her. And she sees and hears us.
She listens carefully to our concerns and works to resolve constituent problems while being fully engaged in the town-wide issues of growth, the future of downtown, public safety and municipal finance. In short, she doesn’t just play at being a dedicated public servant on Facebook. She is one.
I share Councilwoman Root’s belief that One Westfield Place (OWP) is a forward-looking development concept that will help Westfield meet the economic and lifestyle challenges that are transforming central business districts — positively and negatively — in many similar New Jersey municipalities. OWP will take maximum advantage of Westfield’s attributes like available public transit and location, make more productive use of under-utilized assets like surface parking lots, improve our ability to compete with those other towns for commercial investment, and enhance real estate values important to so many of us.
As a long-time (45-year) resident, I also remember how things used to be, fondly in some ways, in other ways not so much. But I don’t think nostalgia for the 1980s or 1990s downtown is a relevant action plan in the era of Amazon, internet retail and the way families actually live, shop for goods and services, and conduct their lives.
It is in the area of public safety, however, that Councilwoman Root most distinguishes herself from her opponent in this election. As chair of the council’s Public Safety Committee, she works in concert with her council colleagues, Chief Battiloro and the men and women of the Westfield Police Department to ensure they have the support, the budget, the staffing and the newest technologies like license plate readers that provide police with tools necessary to keep Westfield one of the safest towns in New Jersey.
Her opponent, however, has made inaccurate claims about how police resources are deployed and even more wildly over-the-top claims about instances of car thefts and break-ins without offering any concrete policy suggestions that would enhance public safety. He would not even endorse the request from police that residents remove key fobs, lock their vehicles and lock their residence doors.
In her work on the Town Council on behalf of First Ward residents and the Town of Westfield, and in her tireless presence and participation with groups and organizations working to make Westfield a stronger and more welcoming community, Councilwoman Emily Root has created a template for being a good neighbor and an exemplary public servant. I urge her re-election.
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