WESTFIELD – Unsure of who to vote for in the upcoming elections on Nov. 5? The Westfield News and Greater Westfield Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the Westfield Council on Aging and Westfield Community Television Channel 15, are hosting City Council and School Committee Candidate Forums over the next two weeks. All forums start at 6:30 p.m.
On Oct. 22 at the Westfield Senior Center, located at 45 Noble St., School Committee candidates will answer questions from moderators Kate Phelon, Chamber of Commerce executive director, and Hope Tremblay, assistant managing editor of The Westfield News.
There are four candidates competing for three 4-year terms on the School Committee. They include incumbents Ramon Diaz, Jr., Diane M. Mayhew, and Bo Sullivan, who was selected to fill the remaining year on Kevin J. Sullivan’s third term at a Special Joint School Committee and City Council meeting in December. Also running for a four-year term is former School Committee member Jeffrey L. Gosselin.
On Oct. 23, city council candidate forums for Wards 1, 2 and 3 will also meet at the Westfield Senior Center. Up to 45 minutes is allotted for each ward candidate to answer questions and clarify positions on topics of interest to Westfield residents. All city councilors serve two-year terms.
Incumbent Ward 1 Councilor Mary Ann Babinski will meet At-large Councilor Nicholas J. Morganelli, Jr., who is running to represent Ward 1. Incumbent Councilor Ralph J. Figy will meet new candidate Juan F. Navarrete for the seat in Ward 2; and new Ward 3 candidate Bridget Matthews-Kane, who is running unopposed, will have the opportunity to introduce herself to the public.
On Oct. 28, also at the Westfield Senior Center, candidates for council Wards 4, 5, and 6 will meet.
Running for Ward 4 are incumbent Michael Burns and former Ward 4 Councilor Mary L. O’Connell. Ward 5 will see a match-up between incumbent Ward 5 Councilor Leslie D. Lefebvre and At-large Councilor John J. Beltrandi, III, who is running to represent Ward 5 in this year’s election. Incumbent Ward 6 Councilor William J. Onyski will meet newcomer Jeffrey A. Neece.
On Oct. 30, at-large candidates will meet in the Westfield Technical Academy auditorium, also beginning at 6:30 p.m. Thirteen candidates are running for seven at-large seats.
Running are incumbents Dan Allie, Brent B. Bean, II, Matthew Emmershy, David Flaherty, Cindy C. Harris, and Andrew K. Surprise; former city councilor and mayor Richard K. Sullivan, Jr.; former councilors James R. Adams, and Matthew T. VanHeynigen, and political newcomers Kristen L. Mello, Dan Moriarty, Rudy F. Musterait and Jason Russell.
The Mayoral Candidate Debate is Oct. 29
The Westfield News, The Republican and Westfield State University are sponsoring a Mayoral Debate Oct. 29 at 6:30 p.m. at Dever Stage in Parenzo Hall on the WSU campus. State Sen. Donald F. Humason, Jr and Westfield Police Capt. Michael A. McCabe are vying for the two-year term currently held by Mayor Brian P. Sullivan, who is not seeking reelection.
If you know that you will not be in Westfield for the Nov. 5 election, or cannot attend due to a physical disability or religious belief; applications for absentee ballots are currently available at the City Clerk’s office and online at www.cityofwestfield.org.
Absentee ballot applications must be received by 12 p.m. on the last business day before the election. Unless defective or incomplete, all absentee ballots are cast and counted by the poll workers on Election Day. Absentee ballots are included in the final tallies, and are counted whether or not an election contains a close race.