WESTFIELD, NJ – Mountain Avenue resident Emily Root was appointed to fill a vacant Ward 1 seat on the Westfield Town Council Tuesday.
Councilwoman Root, who first moved to Westfield in 2000, is a small business owner who has operated a successful private speech therapy practice in Berkeley Heights for nearly two decades.
“I am truly honored to be appointed to this position by the Mayor and Town Council,” Councilwoman Root said. “I hope to give back to a town that has given me so much.”
Councilwoman Root fills a seat vacated by Ward 1 Councilman Jim Boyes, who resigned on April 12.
Root is the daughter of a law enforcement officer. Her father, William, was first a patrolman in Berkeley, California in the late 1960s rising to become a lieutenant in the El Cerrito Police Departmentbefore moving to a job in the U.S. State Department in diplomatic security working at U.S. embassies overseas.
“Being the daughter of a law enforcement officer gives me a profound respect for our men and women in blue, and a firsthand understanding of the importance and value of public service,” Councilwoman Root said. “Living abroad gave me a new perspective and an appreciation for what it means to be an American.”
After graduating from University of California at Santa Cruz, Root earned her master’s degree in speech language pathology from New York University. She and her first husband purchased a home on Edgewood Avenue.
But life took an unexpected turn when her husband died of cancer in 2009.
“Being a young widow made me who I am today – resilient, independent and compassionate,” Councilwoman Root said. “It made me understand that life doesn’t always go as planned.”
In 2015, Councilwoman Root remarried Bruno Tedeschi, a public relations executive. She has two step-children, Zoe, who is a sophomore at the University of Rhode Island and Dylan, who is a senior at Westfield High School.
Root has built a successful speech therapy practice and is one of only a small group of stuttering specialists in the nation. She is also an adjunct professor at Kean University and San Francisco State University.
As a small business owner, Councilwoman Root said she understands the struggles that confront small business owners.
“I lost 50% of my client base in the first few months of the pandemic and worried how I would stay open after 17 years in private practice,” Councilwoman Root said. “But I adapted, persevered and came out stronger.”
Root said she is looking forward to working with businesses that have put their faith in Westfield as well as meeting residents of Ward 1 in the coming days, weeks and months.
“I know we have a lot on our plate in the next few months,” Councilwoman Root said. “I look forward to rolling up my sleeves and getting to work on behalf of our Ward 1 residents and continue the progress that we’ve made in the last few years.”
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