Westfield voters elect first female mayor

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WESTFIELD -

Westfield voters made history Tuesday when they elected the town’s first female mayor.

Shelley Brindle unseated popular third-term incumbent Republican Mayor Andy Skibitsky by a landslide.

“This was the hardest thing I’ve ever done,” she says.

Brindle, a mother of three and former executive, says that she never thought that she would get involved in politics. But then Donald Trump won the presidency.

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"I think we all just woke up, that you can't take anything for granted,” Brindle says. “I remember Barack Obama's speech in particular when he said, ‘If you want to make a difference, get out the clip board, get some signatures and run for office.’”

Brindle says that when Skibitsky announced that he was running for a fourth term, she hoped someone would oppose him.

“And then it came out to, ‘if not me, then who?’” she says.

Brindle made history as the first female mayor in town and the town’s only second Democratic mayor.

“Seeing a bunch of middle school-aged boys with 'Brindle for mayor' buttons on their backpacks was just as meaningful because…it didn't even register to them that I couldn’t be mayor,” she says. “And for the girls it registered for them that they could be [mayor].”

Brindle says that the race did get heated at time, but that she and Skibitsky have put it behind them. Skibitsky surprised everyone when he showed up at Brindle’s headquarters to concede and congratulate her. The two even had lunch together Thursday to discuss a smooth transition.

Brindle says that she will spend the next few weeks deciding who to appoint to a handful of boards and committees in town. She says that she will consider anyone in town regardless of their party affiliation.

Brindle will be sworn in to office Jan. 1.

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