Tuesday, November 5 is Election Day, and throughout Western Massachusetts, voters will be choosing mayors and town or city council members, as well as other elected officials. In West Springfield, the mayoral race is hotly contested, as well as the At-Large town council seats. Here are the best candidates for entrepreneurs to cast their votes for, and why.
Mayor: Greg Neffinger
In less than two years in office, incumbent Greg Neffinger has lowered property taxes for both businesses and residents, a boon for those who run businesses from their homes. He has also kept the new high school project on track, which means the children of West Springfield will get the kind of education they need to become entrepreneurs and succeed in the workforce. Additionally, Mayor Neffinger has kept one of the neighborhood elementary schools open, negotiated a solid host agreement should the town voters have approved a casino, and added park rangers to the town’s two large recreation areas, Mittineague Park and Bear Hole. He has also refused to rubber stamp Town Council proposals, instead choosing to do what is best for the town, its residents and its businesses.
Further, Mayor Neffinger has been an entrepreneur, as he ran his own architectural business. He knows what entrepreneurs and small businesses need from their towns, and he'll work to make sure it happens. For these reasons, Mayor Neffinger deserves a second term.
Town Councilor at Large: Dianne Provost
Dianne Provost is the fresh, polite voice that the West Springfield Town Council desperately needs. The former proprietor of Manners and More, Ms. Provost is a native of West Springfield, works at Babson Capital Management, and advocates for fiscal efficiency and transparency, tax stability and historic preservation. She wants to bring back the unique character of West Springfield that makes it a pleasure to live and work in, and she’s already done a lot as a traffic safety activist, Clean Up West Springfield volunteer, member of Friends of the Library and West Springfield Garden Club secretary. Ms. Provost, as a former entrepreneur, can lend the hardworking perspective that the town council needs and be the voice of those making a go of it in this town. Ms. Provost deserves a chance to better the town and bring a fresh perspective.
Town Councilor at Large: Bridget Fiala
If Ms. Provost is the polite voice, Bridget Fiala is the young voice that is desperately needed to revitalize the town council. A 2003 graduate of West Springfield High School, Ms. Fiala currently practices law in West Springfield and believes in spending tax dollars wisely. She wants to improve education and further economic development. She’s a solid choice based on her ambition, which drove her to earn her bachelor’s degree at Westfield State University and her J.D. at Western New England University. Her legal training and youthful perspective will serve the council well as it navigates its way through these turbulent times. Vote for Ms. Fiala for Councilor at Large.
Town Councilor at Large: Brian Clune
Brian Clune supports keeping taxes low. That’s great news for property owners, particularly entrepreneurs struggling to get their businesses off the ground. That’s the main reason to cast a ballot for Mr. Clune on Tuesday.
Town Councilor at Large: Heather Douglas
Heather Douglas is another fresh face and lifelong resident of West Springfield. She graduated West Springfield High School in 1999, graduated from American International College in Springfield, and is a volunteer youth sports coach. She’s got skin in the game to make West Springfield a great place: she’s raising three kids. When you want something done, ask a mother, particularly one that is invested in making the community the kind of place where her kids will want to stay. Vote Ms. Douglas for Councilor at Large.
Town Councilor at Large: Reid McManus
It is painful to endorse a candidate just because he is not someone else, but Reid McManus is a far better choice than any of the incumbents or Gerard Matthews, who was on the town council during some of the biggest tax increases the town ever saw. These tax increases drove out businesses and homeowners alike, and to re-elect Mr. Matthews or any of the incumbents is like encouraging the demise of West Springfield. For this reason alone, the At-Large councilors all need to be fresh blood, so vote for Reid McManus on November 5.