Candidates Seek Election As Westfield Trustees
The following candidates are seeking election as trustees for the village of Westfield:
Thomas Rackowski has relocated from northern Virginia and along with his wife, Lesley, and their sons Andrew and Brandon, now call Westfield home.
In the fall of 2005, the family purchased a home in the village of Westfield. Also that year, they purchased a 30-acre farm in Portland. Over the past seven years, they have become active members of the community.
They formed a New York LLC, Pillowcasegram and Other Things, LLC, which now operates as an Internet retail seller of fabrics and other sewn goods, and they are members of the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce. Lesley is a board member of the Lakeshore Assembly of God Church, a member of the Westfield Quilt Guild, and Thomas is a member of the Westfield Fish and Game Club.
The couple says they enjoy strolls through the Westfield Farmers’ Market where they purchase fresh vegetables and grass-fed beef, and local arts and crafts. They say they always make an effort to first support village merchants, and they have been supporters of the wonderful hospital. In addition, the couple can be seen at fundraising dinners held at the YWCA or one of the many churches located in the village. And this past November, they opened their house to the Westfield Women’s Organization’s Holly Tour.
Thomas Rackowski was born in Washington, D.C., on Feb. 17, 1951, and brings to his candidacy for village trustee 40 years of experience in business and community service. Rackowski has a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration with a concentration in accounting from Old Dominion University. His career in corporate accounting includes 32 years with The IDI Group of Companies, a major Washington, D.C. area real estate developer, where he served as vice president and controller, and was responsible for overseeing all the company’s accounting functions, including cash management and budget forecasting. As a volunteer working directly with youth, he assisted with the high school youth group at Our Lady of Good Counsel Church in Vienna, Va., and served in various leadership roles with the Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts from den leader to scoutmaster. He served as the Parent Teacher Association’s representative to the Fairfax County School Board of Education’s budget advisory committee for Wolftrap Elementary School in Vienna, Va. With the National Capital Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America, he served as the first district commissioner of the George Mason District and later served the NCAC as an assistant council commissioner. His hobbies include golf, fishing, hunting and decoy duck carving.
As a trustee, Rackowski feels he can “bring a strong sense of fiscal responsibility and a belief in a prosperous future for our children to the village of Westfield by encouraging new industry in our area. Our library, parks, school, hospital, the McClurg House and Museum and retail establishments all contribute to our quality of life here in Westfield.”
Rackowski says he is committed to all the people in Westfield by supporting all these amenities. Rackowski tells people he meets that when he first came to the area, he fell in love with the land. Shortly after that, he says, he fell in love with the people in the community.
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Debra Puckhaber was born in Westfield, raised in Mayville, and has lived in the village of Westfield for the last 14 years. She is married to Mark Puckhaber and has three grown daughters – two are Westfield Academy and Central School graduates – and three stepchildren. She is also the grandmother of eight.
Puckhaber worked in Albany as a legislative assistant and constituent liaison for Assemblyman William Parment. She has also been a legal secretary, an in-home eldercare provider and an executive manager with Tupperware where she recruited, trained and supervised a 23-person team. Puckhaber has been a citizen advocate for the disabled and has researched, written and coordinated services for individuals in need of legal and personal help in the area. She has also worked as personal financial analyst with Primerica Financial Services where she counseled families on budgeting and financial planning.
Puckhaber was a founding member of the Westfield New Year’s Eve Committee, which donated thousands of dollars to local nonprofit groups in Westfield. She is an advanced, certified self-defense instructor, holds a third-degree black belt in Escrima/Arnis and has taught seminars and classes in self defense at Erie Community College, WACS, the YWCA and other local programs. Puckhaber has also been a speaker and advocate against domestic violence in Chautauqua County through her association with Catholic Charities. She is also a new member of Westfield Union Relief. Puckhaber says her diverse background has given her a strong set of skills in the legislative process, legal research, financial planning, and listening to and addressing the concerns of others.
Puckhaber says she is very excited about the candidates for this village election. She believes it is time for a fresh perspective – including that of a woman. She says she looks forward to lending her years of experience to the citizens of Westfield as a trustee on the village board.
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Robert C. Cochran is seeking re-election for his third term as a village trustee. Cochran has been endorsed by the Democratic Party as well as the Westfield First Independent Party.
Cochran graduated from Westfield Academy School and then earned a Bachelor of Science degree from the State University of New York at Cobleskill. He majored in ornamental horticulture and landscape architecture. While at Cobleskill, Cochran studied numerous business-related courses, such as business law, firm management and economics. He graduated top of his class.
Cochran and his wife Stacy own and operate Midway Garden Center and Misty Ridge Landscaping. These A+ rated businesses continue to operate in hard economic times, and the couple has been able to add more staff to their companies over the past five years through strategic business management.
Cochran says he enjoyed his past two terms as trustee where responsibilities involved keeping a eye on the economics of the village as well as participating in financial discussions to ensure Westfield remains an affordable and enjoyable place to call home.
Cochran is a member of the Local Moose Lodge 118, The Vikings Lodge, The National Federation of Independent Business and the Better Business Bureau. His wife Stacy is a member of The Union Relief. The couple are lifetime residents of Westfield and say they enjoy living in Westfield with their two children, Lauren and Tyler.
Cochran feels it is one’s duty as a citizen to vote and become educated on today’s current events.
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As Westfield village trustee, Chris Jaynes says he will listen and contribute to solving issues facing our community. He says his decisions will continue to be based on financial responsibility and good government necessary to achieve the goals of village residents.
For the past seven years, Jaynes has served as trustee and six years as deputy mayor. Jaynes has not missed a meeting during that time and says he has shown his dedication to the job for which he was elected.
Jaynes has been employed at Renold Inc., for 39 years and works as manufacturing supervisor. He is a member of Westfield United Methodist Church and the Westfield Loyal Order of Moose Lodge No. 118. Jaynes has been president of the Chautauqua Lake Snowmobile Club for five years and is also a member of the Chautauqua County Corvette Club.
Jaynes is a graduate of Westfield Academy and Central School and attended Jamestown Community College. He is the village liaison to the Westfield Volunteer Fire Department.
A lifetime Westfield resident, Jaynes and his wife Rita have four children: Brenda, Clayton, Callie and Andrea; and five grandchildren.