Over the past couple of weeks the primary elections heated up to levels unseen in our little city of Westfield Indiana. There were candidates all over the place and at the top of the pile was a fantastic contest between Mayor Andy Cook and Jeff Harpe a local resident. I was impressed by Harpes following when it was all said and done, as he was able to bring out a lot of voters that I would guess may not have cast a vote without him leading that charge. His following seemed to be passionate and aside from the few negative people, they showed an ability to stand up and rally for what they believe in. Many other great things came from this election besides increased participation like cleaning up any potential for future lawsuits through the Open Door issues and a quick legal battle. It also brought out the great plan that had been put in place years ago and the details of the Grand Park that many citizens have not heard. It was interesting to hear the conversations about TIF districts and tax revenue and tourism all being had because of this election and the concern from residents wondering what our communities next steps will be. It brought out new friendships and relationships that might not existed had we not been put into a campaign position with a same cause but from different worlds. I met new young professionals in this campaign, business owners wanting to have a stake and parents that think doing their homework and paying attention has its rewards in our community. It was a lot of fun to watch the strategy from one candidate to the next positioning themselves a little closer to constituents or sometimes pushing them to the other side.
The City Council was no slush match either. Early on Cindy Spoljaric led a social media campaign that was in my mind the best in the council. She understands that residents want a way to connect to the leadership and she put herself out there in a still unknown format in many ways. I think the City can take from this and in ways they already have. Bob Smith was ousted by Joe Edwards but quite frankly I am not sure that was anything different for our City. Both Joe and Bob are tremendous residents with a long history of involvement and putting Westfield first. I think Joe will work hard and because of his positive campaign and sincere personality, he was able to win. I think had he talked poorly about Bob Smith the votes may not have been there and I look forward to seeing his vision play out. The other councilors were challenged but in the end the rest of them won their place back and I think its a good thing for Westfield. Our city is at a point that this group needs to finish its work and move the development of Grand Park, Grand Junction, Commercial and Residential growths from ideas to reality.
What I hope for in the coming months is seeing how the challenging candidates can take their love for Westfield and obvious passion into our community. There are so many opportunities for these talented folks to volunteer and network to make Westfield the kind of City they worked hard to lead. Hopefully they are not discouraged and slip away but instead find another role that they can apply their skills and drive and really help out, because we all know there is a need for a few fresh faces on these committees. Congratulations to everyone involved and I look forward to many years of great things happening in Westfield the Bestfield!