Westfield incumbents respond to last-minute write-in campaign

Posted November 13, 2017 at 10:46 pm

By Julie Ann Madden

When Westfield council members whose names were on the Nov. 7 election ballot found out there was a write-in campaign underway the night before the election, all but one was shocked.

Incumbents Mayor Mike Tadlock, Councilors Jenny Hartman-Mendoza and James Feauto found out the night before the election while Councilor Beth Terpstra found out after the election.

Feauto’s Response

“It was nice (to have a write-in campaign) because we needed to fill some spots,” said Feauto. “If individuals were not the names on the ballot people were looking for, it gave another option.”

Feauto, who was the top vote-getter in the Westfield election with 34 votes, thought it was nice to know people had voted for him.

“Now I can continue with our projects,” said Feauto. “I don’t like to leave things unfinished.”

His next step is “to press on with the water treatment project and the sewer lift station,” he told The Akron Hometowner, “and really work toward getting town cleaned up and taking care of abandoned properties.”

Jenny Hartman-Mendoza

“I think the write-in campaign was okay,” said Incumbent Jenny Hartman-Mendoza who was seeking her third term on the council. “I think it brought more awareness that people need to be aware of what’s going on.”

“But what I didn’t understand is that they wanted to be a write-in, wanted to be elected when none of them have ever showed up at a council meeting,” she said, thanking everyone who came out and voted on Election Day. “It wasn’t even a presidential election and we had 41 out of 101 registered voters at the polls. That shows they care and want to have a voice.”

“My thing is even though (all the write-in campaigners) didn’t win, we’d still like their input and have them come to council meetings and be positive,” said Hartman-Mendoza. “Just because they didn’t win doesn’t mean we don’t want their input. We do.”

“We’d also like their support,” she added, noting there are several issues facing the town. The top priority is to find the budget to make water and wastewater system improvements. “We need to come up with the money.”

Terpstra’s Comments

“I was really disappointed they didn’t take out nomination papers and run openly if they’re not happy with the way we are doing things,” Terpstra told The Akron Hometowner.

“I was kind of shocked that many people had come out to vote,” she said, “and happy I was reelected. I want to continue with what we started.”

“The whole council has to be together on it,” she said, “and now we can continue.”

“I’m going to stand behind Mike (Tadlock) on cleaning up the town,” said Terpstra. “He’s made great strides in that and finish the work on the infrastructure he’s started. He just needs good council backing to continue.”

Terpstra is already working on expanding the Westfield Farmers Market, which will have a second season, next year.

Tadlock’s Response

“I was surprised,” said Tadlock about the write-in campaign. “It occurred at such a late stage I wasn’t allowed to communicate with them about what the problem areas are — what did I do so wrong that they felt so strongly to do a write-in campaign?”

“If they had contacted me, we would have worked together so we could have a united council,” he said, noting the day after the election he still didn’t know why there was a write-in campaign.

“Humbled” was the only word Tadlock had for getting 70 percent of the mayoral votes cast in the Nov. 7 election. “Overall, based on the election outcome, we are doing things right.”

“I’m grateful to the people of the community making me mayor of our town again,” said Tadlock. “For those who voted against me, I’d encourage them to come to meetings and let us know what issues you have.”

“We all live in this town and need to work together,” he said.

To the Westfield residents as a whole, “Be positive. Have the belief: YES, WE CAN AND YES, WE WILL,” said Tadlock. “It’s your government. We work for you.”

“Looking ahead we have to replace the failing lift station, which will include work at the lagoon area,” he said.

“We have to continue to work toward a way to find growth,” said Tadlock.

Working with property owners and renters to keep properties from becoming nuisances is also on Tadlock’s list of top priorities.

“We have to come up with innovative ideas to clean up our town,” he said.

“Last of all, I want to take this opportunity to thank all who took the time to vote for me,” said Tadlock. “It was very much appreciated.”

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