Westfield Newsroom

Keefe slips past Medeiros challenge

WESTFIELD – Ward 1 residents voted, narrowly, to return City Council President Christopher Keefe to another term. Keefe turned away a spirited challenge by Kevin Medeiros, winning re-election by a separation of only 39 votes, with a tally of 472 votes for Keefe and 433 ballots for Medeiros.
Medeiros had campaigned on a school district-support platform, challenging Keefe, whose tenure on the council has included several “hot button” issues, including permits for the $400 million Pioneer Valley Energy Center (PVEC) and rezoning city-owned land, originally purchased for a landfill, for industrial use.
“I think a combination of those factors, name recognition, the Medeiros name has been on the ballot for more than three decades, and the ward issues,” Keefe said this morning. “I think that the marginal result was because there were some very motivated voters in an otherwise very quite election.”
Keefe’s support of the PVEC angered some residents who formed the Concerned Citizens of Westfield group, to organize opposition to the 430 megawatt power plant.
Keefe, who voted against the zone change of the Cabot Road property, from Rural Residential to Industrial A, also alienated residents of that area because, as the ward councilor, he introduced the zone change on behalf of Mayor Daniel M. Knapik.
“I am pleased that despite those obstacles, voters chose to send me back for another term,” Keefe said. “I’ll take being on the winning side of a close election. I have been on the other side before.”
Medeiros, the brother of the late Charles Medeiros, who served more than 30 years as an elected officials, primarily as the Ward 1 City Councilor, said the campaign was a “good experience.”
“I saw nothing negative, as far as Chris and I go. He was a gentleman and I thanked him for that,” Medeiros said this morning.
“Nobody lost in this election. My goal was to get Mr. Keefe to pay more attention to his constituents, and he has, so it’s a win-win,” Medeiros said. “The people in Ward 1 won last night. Nobody lost. I’m pleased with the outcome. I know Chris will do a good job.”

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