Editor’s note: Reminder Publishing sent both Westfield mayoral candidates identical questionnaires covering several topics of interest to voters. The first two answers appeared in the Oct. 21 edition of The Pennysaver. Additional questions and answers will appear daily, starting today, in The Westfield News. Answers are in the candidates’ own words and have not been edited, except for spelling and punctuation. Responses are listed in the order that candidates will be listed in the ballot: incumbent first, then challenger.
Today’s question: What will you do as mayor to help small businesses in Westfield bounce back from pandemic-related economic hardship?
Donald Humason: I have made business development and promotion a priority of my administration. “Westfield is Open for Business” has been my constant message to businesses of all sizes. It has paid off, as evidenced by the three dozen new businesses that have opened here since the pandemic. My team worked closely with Community Development to offer block grants to help small businesses during the pandemic. I collaborate regularly with the Chamber of Commerce on meetings, ribbon cuttings and Mayor’s Coffee Hours. We also have plans to use ARPA funds to provide assistance for businesses and provide a Rapid Recovery Program.
Michael McCabe: I would reprioritize the current thinking that ARPA should be spent on infrastructure and sewers almost exclusively. That was not its only intent. I would give $2,500 stipends to local businesses earning less than $50,000 in retail sales whose primary business is located in the Elm, Franklin, North Elm, and Main street corridors. They are the ones who struggle the most. While rents are not steep in some areas, some small businesses are in arrears. I have spoken with many of them. All I would ask in return were paid receipts for items purchased after the stipend was agreed upon.
Pick up the newspaper every day from now until Saturday, Oct. 30, for more questions and answers with the mayoral, Ward 1 City Council and School Committee candidates. To add your thoughts to our coverage, send your letter to the editor to [email protected], or 181 Root Road, Westfield, MA 01085.
Election Day is Nov. 2. Early voting is also available tomorrow at City Hall, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., and daily Oct. 25-29.