Ben Wolkowitz Endorsement Letter

heroI am writing to endorse Debra Coen and Astri Baillie for Borough Council. Debra is running for my seat, which with reluctance I had decided to relinquish. Although I didn’t know Debra prior to her accepting the offer to run for Council, many people who know her well assured me that she would be a positive addition to our Council. Since then I have learned about her term on our Board of Education, where she served on the board’s Curriculum Council and the Buildings and Grounds Committee, including two years as its chair, as well as her other volunteer activities with the Central Avenue School PTO and the Madison Soccer Club that she has managed to fit into an active career and family life.

Debra has approached me to assist her in deepening her understanding of several Council issues, particularly financial. I have found her to be a quick study and an eager learner. She is smart and gets to the core of an issue quickly and will not hesitate to pursue a topic until she fully understands it. Moreover, she is articulate and can clearly make her case when discussing issues. She has a genuine commitment to Madison and wants to participate in making it even better.

I have known Astri for a very long time and had the honor and pleasure to be her running mate for my two terms on Council. Astri has lived here almost her entire life and has been very heavily involved in town issues for as long as I can remember. Not surprisingly, her knowledge of Madison is encyclopedic. She has developed especially strong expertise in planning and land use issues including open space, historic preservation and recreation, as well as housing and zoning. She is also a good listener who does her homework. For example, earlier in the year it was brought to Astri’s attention that our playing fields need work, including our artificial turf fields, which will need re-skinning in the next couple of years. She visited all the fields and met with members of the Rec. Committee as well as involved parents. She listened, verified their complaints and reviewed their proposals for improvement. The result: she has become a strong advocate for restoring and upgrading our fields. In the process she identified sources of funds to pay for these plans and has convinced the Council to be supportive. These improvements will come at no additional taxes or special outlays from our residents. As always she is careful fiscally while doing all she can to make Madison an even better place.

Our Council has at times been a tumultuous and rancorous forum, which has not always served our community well. Over the last few years that has not been the case. We have seen tangible improvements in our roads, schools, overall infrastructure and Borough services while keeping municipal tax increases well below the rate of inflation. This is a Council that has listened to its residents and has consistently tried to function in their best interests. Astri and Debra are two people who will continue the productive functioning of our Council. Vote for Madison, vote for your own interests and join me in voting for Baillie and Coen.

The views expressed in this letter are mine and are not intended to reflect those of any other members of our Council.

Ben Wolkowitz
Dellwood Dr.