New Canaan GOP supports newcomer candidates
New Canaan Republicans backed four candidates for Town Council and three for Board of Education with a newcomer gaining endorsement over an incumbent on each body during the party’s mid-summer caucus Tuesday night.
Just 285 total ballots were cast during the caucus vote to nominate candidates for election on Nov. 3. The night began at New Canaan High School with short speeches by the petitioning candidates.
For the Town Council, incumbent Stephen Karl earned the most votes with 223, and first-time candidates Cristina Kenin received 157 and Crista Aguirre Ross and garnered 150 votes to each earn a spot on the slate.
E. Roger Williams, a town resident since 1995 who was seeking his second term, received 130 votes to miss endorsement.
On the Board of Education, Chairwoman Hazel Hobbs received 155 votes, followed by Maria Naughton, an educational consultant and former elementary and high school teacher, with 144 votes, and Thomas G. Cronin, a retired marketing executive, with 137 votes to gain endorsement.
Members of both boards are elected to four-year terms.
Aguirre Ross, a licensed architect, a longtime parks and recreation commissioner and current vice chairwoman of the RTC, said she would work to promote a “common sense” approach to maintaining the quality of life in New Canaan while preserving a fiscally responsible outlook.
“It is my commitment to represent all the residents of the town of New Canaan and serve with the utmost integrity and be the people’s voice,” Ross said. “My professional experience as an architect may prove valuable as the town continues to lean toward expansion of both its infrastructure and schools.”
Kenin, a town resident for four years, said her priorities would include investing in the school district, infrastructure projects to expand cellular phone service and creating smart parking technology downtown.
“Education elevates our children, our property values and our economy,” Kenin said. “We all win with a top-rated school system.”
During his comments, Williams said in his first term he’d push back against unnecessary spending, and warned the town was at a critical juncture where a lack of scrutiny of proposed capital projects could result in a disastrous surge in taxes.
“We’ve got a problem and the problem is runaway spending,” Williams said. “If we do nothing, our taxes are up 50 percent in six years. Now is the time to have a serious discussion about what this town can afford and what kind of taxes we want to impose on citizens…We really have to focus on that.”
Williams said he also helped spearhead a successful effort to enact a policy limiting the amount of time New Canaan police could retain data from license plate readers to no more than 14 days. Williams said he felt a less restrictive policy seriously risked infringing the privacy of residents.
“Most of what we do is appropriations, and if we’re spending money and it is your money, my money, and our money, what questions would you ask?” Williams said.
In asking to be nominated for endorsement for a third term, Hobbs highlighted the breadth of her educational background as teacher and principal and a commitment to maximize savings, especially on fixed costs running the district like heating and transportation.
“This fall we’ll be expanding STEM at all school levels and a new technology initiative for the ninth grade,” Hobbs said. “I’m particularly excited to work on a strategic planning project to draw on national and international expertise to assure New Canaan students remain in the forefront of elementary and secondary education as global citizens.”