Success Across the Board
Deep Roots in Westwood
Councilwoman Alyssa Dawson
I am a lifelong Westwood resident, born at Pascack Valley Hospital in 1993. I attended Zion Lutheran School in Westwood from nursery to 8th grade and am a member of Zion Lutheran Church. I grew up on the fields and on the courts, playing Recreation and travel soccer and basketball before I chose to attend Immaculate Heart Academy. I went on to play Division II college basketball on a full scholarship at Concordia College NY, where I majored in History.
After graduating summa cum laude, I took my first job in the Governor's Office of Constituent Relations. There, I learned firsthand about the problems that residents across the State face - whether it be the impact of Hurricane Sandy, opioid addiction, homelessness, or veterans in need of services. My time in that Office opened my eyes, my ears, and my heart, and I spent every day doing all I could to first, listen to the issues affecting our residents, and then find solutions.
From there, I went on to work alongside our State's first Lieutenant Governor, Kim Guadagno in her bid to become the next Governor of New Jersey. Although the results were not in our favor, I was able to learn and grow as a young professional, public servant, and most importantly, a person.
Now, I have decided it is time to give back to the community that offered me innumerable opportunities growing up. I want to ensure that my hometown of Westwood continues to prosper, continues to be affordable, and continues to offer its residents the best services. Along with my running mate's exceptional record of service and achievement, I will do everything I can to listen and find solutions to the concerns of residents, while simultaneously seeking new opportunities for growth and success.
Councilman Ray Arroyo
I was born in Brooklyn, New York, and moved to Westwood with my wife Jo Ann in 1993 – which coincidentally is the year my running mate Councilwoman Alyssa Dawson was born. I attended Catholic grammar school and high school and was a Varsity Basketball player at Bishop Loughlin Memorial High School. I was a scholar athlete and went on to Yale University. I graduated Cum Laude with a BA in American Studies. I also studied at NYU Law School.
For three years, I taught at the International Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners Apprentice School on Hudson St. in Manhattan. I taught young men and women how to read blueprints and manage projects. I own my own construction consulting firm and have managed hundreds of millions of dollars worth of build outs over a thirty year career. I’ve had several essays, mostly on life in our borough, published in The Bergen Record and Pascack Press.
Jo Ann and I left Brooklyn when it became a rough place to live and start a family. Through relatives in Closter, we discovered and fell in love with Westwood. We saved our money, waited three years for the right house to come on the market, and never looked back.
Westwood has afforded my family a wonderful life - a life that was unimaginable in the place we left behind. My son grew up with facilities at his disposal and opportunities for enrichment that Jo Ann and I never had.
My public service to the borough - eight years on the zoning board (where I served as Vice Chairman), and coming up on six as a councilmember - has been informed by a deep sense of gratitude. My mission has been to preserve and protect the essential, small town ingredients that make Westwood such an attractive place to live. These essentials - relative affordability and housing stock offering diverse price points, low intensity residential neighborhoods, a robust commercial tax base, superb parks and recreation facilities serving all ages, a thriving Library, excellent public safety services and voluntary associations - will continue to beckon young families and keep Westwood vibrant and alive for future generations.
That Councilwoman Dawson was born in Westwood during the year Jo Ann and I arrived is telling. Westwood has thrived because the volunteers involved in its governance remember its past and carry its best parts forward. Continuity and thoughtful adaptation to the challenges of State mandates and changing economies has been a big part of its success. Alyssa and I hope to continue that success into Westwood’s 125th year.