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Westfield Mayoral Candidate Gregory S. McDermott Kicks Off Campaign with Neighborhood ‘FriendRaiser’
By LYNN M. KOLIBABA
Specially Written for The Westfield Leader
WESTFIELD — On June 3 more than 100 people from the community joined Gregory S. McDermott, Westfield Republican mayoral candidate, for his first campaign event since the announcement of his candidacy in April.
It was hosted by Jim and Colleen Palme at their home on 312 Massachusetts Avenue.
Mrs. Palme, the candidate’s sister, described the event as a “Friendraiser” and an opportunity to meet Mr. McDermott in a casual, informal atmosphere.
In his welcoming address, Mr. McDermott, currently a First Ward Councilman, noted he has lived in Westfield all but three years of his life.
“I’m back and, just like all of you, I hope one day my kids will want to
come back to this town and raise their kids,” said Mr. McDermott.
He urged everyone to fill out a questionnaire asking attendees to list the issues they would like him to advocate for them, now as a Town Councilman and in November as mayor.
“It’s just one way I’m able to reach out to you,” Mr. McDermott said. “If we can work together and build lines of communications, we can have a strong community. As mayor, I feel I can do that job for Westfield. I can represent all of you.”
In his welcome, Mr. McDermott also took a moment to introduce his running mates for the November election.
On the Republican ticket for council seats he named Peter Echausse, First Ward; Raphael J. Betancourt, Second Ward; Karen Trzesniowski, Third Ward; and Gerard Boyle, Fourth Ward.
While surrounded by friends, family, and fellow political supporters that evening, many who turned out knew Mr. McDermott only as “the coach for my child’s soccer team” or “the man who helped bring the sidewalk cleaning, Blue Machine, to downtown.”
Others were meeting Mr. McDermott for the first time.
Debbie and Andrew Skibitsky, for example, moved to Westfield from Arizona three years ago.
“We chose Westfield because we love the sense of community,” Mrs. Skibitsky said. “Quality of life issues are important to us, maintaining the vitality of downtown, schools and education, and community spirit. We’re here to meet and learn more about one of our candidates for mayor.”
Vic Trzesniowski, the husband of Karen Trzesniowski, is a long time friend and supporter of Mr. McDermott’s. “Greg will make a super mayor. He’s high energy and active in many community projects. Greg has a broadbase of support and can end the disruptiveness in town government.”
To The Westfield Leader and The Times of Scotch PlainsFanwood, Mr.
McDermott stated that the downtown parking situation and improvements in the town’s parks and sports fields are among the issues receiving his primary focus.
“I have children who play on those fields, as do many folks here tonight. People would like to see them in better shape,” he said.
Also important to Mr. McDermott are strong working relationships with individuals and organizations that provide services to the Westfield community.
“As Mayor, I would like to see a lot more shared services. I believe we have an opportunity to work closer with the Westfield Board of Education, for example,” he added.
Commenting on the importance of reaching out to everyone in the community, he said, “We have so many resources of people in this town who can offer so many different things. We have to be sure we keep them involved. If people are involved and concerned, it’s easier to get things done, because they will come out and participate. That’s what a community needs.”
Mr. McDermott is a Vice President with Drew & Rogers, Inc., a printing distributor/ broker based in Fairfield.
Besides serving as First Ward Councilman for the past two and a half years, Mr. McDermott has chaired the Town Council’s Solid Waste Committee and is a member of the Parking, Traffic and Transportation Committee, the Buildings and Town Property Committee, and the Public Safety Committee.
He is also a board member of the Westfield Downtown Corporation, the entity that governs the town’s special improvement district, and serves as Liaison to the Board of Education.
Lynn M. Kolibaba for The Westfield Leader and The Times FIRST “FRIENDRAISER” OF THE SEASON… Friends, family, political supporters and the curious turned out to meet Republican Westfield Mayoral candidate Gregory S. McDermott on June 3. Gathered together are the McDermott family, from left: front, Patricia; second row, Melissa and Maggie, and Mr. McDermott, Bryan and wife, Andrea. Veterans Can Sign Up
Monday at Westfield Event
WESTFIELD — All veterans who served at least one day in the armed forces of the United States before September 7, 1980, may be eligible for Veteran Administration medical benefits, according to William Brown of Westfield, Service Officer for Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 11467.
All Merchant Seamen who served on United States Merchant ships between December 7, 1941, and August 5, 1945, may be eligible for Veteran Administration (VA) medical benefits. The VA is authorized to provide medical care to veterans of nations allied or associated with the United States during World War I or World War II under certain conditions.
Mr. Brown notes that veterans who served after September 7, 1980 have to have served 24 consecutive months or be called up for active duty by Presidential Proclamation and have served 14 days in a combat zone.
Benefits are available to all qualified veterans regardless of income. Some of the benefits are prescription medication at a cost of $2 per month and, in some cases free. Also, in some cases free eye glasses and hearing aids will be provided.
For more information on veteran benefits, call (800) 8271000, (888) 9543553 or (877) 2228387.
Veterans not registered in the VA system may enroll on Tuesday, June
20, from 4: 30 to 10 p. m. in the Community Room of the Westfield Municipal Building, East Broad Street, Westfield.
Veterans must bring their original discharge papers or a good photocopy and any medical plan cards.
Father’s Day Sale On Tap at Thrift Shop
SCOTCH PLAINS — The FanwoodScotch Plains Service League will hold a halfprice Father’s Day Sale this Saturday, June 17.
Featured merchandise will include men’s suits, slacks, casual and dress shirts, along with work clothes.
Also available will be infants and children’s clothes, as well as camp clothes. A wide variety of seasonal fashions for women, including suits, separates, rain coats and dresses, will also be offered.
The Thrift Shop is located at the corner of Willow Avenue and East Second Street in Scotch Plains. Shop hours are Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, from 10 a. m. to 2: 30 p. m., and Fridays and Saturdays from 10 a. m. to 1 p. m. Browsers are always welcome.
For further information, please call (908) 3225420.
Covering Fanwood, Mountainside, Scotch Plains and Westfield, Union County, New Jersey (NJ)