Name: Ethan Flaherty
Address: 7 Marla Circle
Currently a junior at UMASS triple-majoring in political science, economics, and psychology. I started college at sixteen, and have chosen to take extra classes during the breaks so that I was prepared to take a gap when starting to serve as Westfield’s State Representative. I currently work 30 hours per week as a tutor, attend school full-time, and run a campaign.
What experience and qualifications do you have that would be an asset to the city?
I believe the most important thing is independence and commitment to representation and service. The political climate is extremely polarized right now, and the special interest groups have too much influence. I believe we need new energetic faces in government that will bring fresh ideas, new perspectives, and more diverse involvement. As a member of the younger generation, I feel that we are underrepresented in government, and that we need more responsible respectful representation. The job of Representative is not just for 50+ year old lawyers and executives. The job is to represent all of the people regardless of their race, color, age, sex, orientation, occupation, income or education. I will treat all people with respect and compassion.
People in Westfield expect good “customer service”, and this is something I consider to be a particular strong suit of mine. I thoroughly and compassionately respond to every single person, and would go as far as guaranteeing that anyone who has seriously interacted with all the candidates would vouch for me in this respect. My goal would be to be the best Representative that Westfield has ever had – and that’s a mighty high goal considering those who’ve done the job before me.
Have you recently met with city department heads to discuss their
needs/concerns/budgets and if so, which ones? What was your takeaway?
I have met with many people in the education and public health spaces. As we all know, there are great challenges right now, and things are not as rosy as they appear in press releases. I’ve discussed many of them during the candidate forum (www.e4w.cc/forum2) and in my campaign communications (www.EthanForWestfield.com/media). I will be meeting with other elected officials, department heads, and boards and commissions after the election. The city department budgets are not controlled by the State Rep. They are completely under the control of the Mayor, City Council, and School Committee. Any candidate that promises more state aid in the form of Chapter 70 for Schools, Chapter 90 for Roads, or Unrestricted State Aid does not understand how the system works. There are standard formulas for these funds, and the ability of a State Rep or Senator to influence the distribution of these funds is limited by law.
There are options for special budget line items, and grants, but they cannot solve the biggest challenges we face. I will certainly advocate for Westfield’s needs, and ensure that we get our fair share of special appropriations.
What are your main concerns & potential solutions for the city?
The main concerns for the city are COVID recovery (health and economy), education, clean water, equality and justice, economic development, and tax burdens. I don’t have space here to discuss these in detail, but you may read more online at www.EthanForWestfield.com/issues
What prompted you to run for election?
I’ve always planned on serving my community. Earlier this year, I signed nomination papers for Mr. Allie and Mr. Pease. At that time, there was no opposing candidate from other parties, no incumbent, and no experienced state legislators in the candidate pool. I didn’t think it was fair for the winner of the Republican Primary to win the general election unopposed. I recognized Mr. Allie’s campaigning expertise and the support he receives from the Republican party, and I also understood that there was a large audience in Westfield that was opposed to Mr. Allie’s positions, and that wanted another choice. I knew that the Democrats had been trying all winter to find a candidate to run for office, and that they had been unsuccessful. So, I decided it was time to act, and I jumped into the race as an Independent because I knew I was just as qualified as everyone else, and I knew that my positions and concerns were in line with a majority of people – except for the extremes of both parties. Fifty nine percent of Westfield voters are not registered Republicans or Democrats. I thought this was a rare opportunity to win as an Independent. I’ve never looked back, and I thank everyone for their support and encouragement.
Why should residents vote for you?
I, like many people in this community, am sick and tired of the partisan politics. We want the focus of our elected Representatives to be doing what’s best for the people – not what’s best for the parties or special interests. I have purposely – from the very beginning of this campaign– refused to seek endorsements or funding from special interest groups. Both of the party candidates have received help from their parties, PAC, and/or special interest groups. I am the only candidate who is truly non-partisan, and I’m the only candidate who can represent Westfield and the younger generation without feeling obligated to political parties or special interest groups. I am qualified, intelligent, hard-working, compassionate, socially modern & progressive, and fiscally conservative. Again, thank you for all of your support, and I respectfully ask for your vote.