By Rachel Lamb - Westfield
I’ve voted Democrat for a long time. Many of my life experiences have shaped my political beliefs – working in the inner-city for a number of years, running for my life on 9/11, marrying a veteran who admirably served our country in Iraq, and raising a family in Westfield. I proudly fly the American Flag as a sign of remembrance that what matters most is what unites us and not divides us.
As a leadership skills coach, I often talk with my clients about getting comfortable with the concept of: “I don’t have to make you wrong to make me right.” I have been giving a lot of thought to this mindset as it relates to our upcoming Mayoral and Town Council election on November 2. It has influenced my decision to vote for whom I believe is best for our community. Voting the Democrat party line will not do that. Instead, I am voting for JoAnn Neylan and Amanda Como (Ward 1) . They are the candidates I know can bring much-needed, great change to Westfield. And for me, that is what is right.
Growing up in Cranford, I always envied Westfield’s downtown, the great sports teams, the street fairs, the parades, and the restaurants. The Westfield of today is not the Westfield I once knew. Stores are disappearing and new restaurants are overlooking empty space in our once bustling town. Innovative and thoughtful sports field plans have been ignored after years of work and community input, forcing our Home team to play Home games in neighboring towns. We now offer tax abatements to developers, as these buildings continue to destroy the charm of our small town. And, most recently, and quite sadly, there is endless victim-shaming when a crime is committed against our neighbors. I am disappointed and frustrated.
Do I think anyone has a perfect plan to solve our town problems? No.
Do I think we need to embrace change for the possibility of making things better for Westfield? Yes, absolutely. For change to happen, we must do things differently.
The Working for Westfield team — JoAnn (Mayor), Amanda (Ward 1) Denise (Ward 2), Shawn (Ward 3), and James (Ward 4) — is the change we need. They have a solid plan that addresses our Town’s biggest issues. How do I know? Because I showed up to a meet-and-greet undecided on who would get my vote, asked questions, and listened with an open mind. I emerged knowing this is the team who is relentlessly focused on our Town’s future.
We need a Town Council made up of independent thinkers who are not influenced to vote on town issues in a way that is aligned solely with their national political party. This practice has become the norm rather than the exception over the last four years. How can we expect our town to evolve if we keep doing things the same way? Nothing changes if nothing changes.
Let’s be balanced, inclusive, and consider alternative points of view from people who see the world from a different lens. There is validity in approaching our major town issues from another angle.
JoAnn and the Working for Westfield team provide a crucial missing piece of the puzzle to get our town back on track – a new and fresh perspective. Regardless of what side of politics you fall on, we all live in the same town and want Westfield to thrive. I encourage you to vote with your heart — and while that may not align with your political party, you are not wrong. It is not about voting Republican or voting Democrat. It is about making the right choice for you, your family, and the town we love. And come November 2, my right choice is a vote for the Working for Westfield team.