Our candidates for the Tuesday, November 5th municipal election!
Bob Bessel, Candidate for First Selectman
I am running for First Selectman to re-engage our citizens in creating Canton’s future. Our town is full of smart, insightful citizens who want to help us grow wisely. We just have to listen. My experiences on the Board of Education, Permanent Municipal Building Committee, Economic Development Agency and Canton Main Street have shown me how to bring people together for the common good. As an organizer of Collinsville Hot, I have seen how appealing Canton can be outside of Canton. As a member of the Canton Lions Club, I have learned the importance of service. I am proud to be married to Nancy L. Greco and to have raised two children in Canton – both graduates of our public schools. I look forward to engaging friends and neighbors as we take action on the challenges that face our town.
Gail Deutsch, Candidate for Board of Selectmen
I have lived in Canton with my family and pets for over 30-years and love this town! I hike daily, bike the trails, kayak the rivers, and ski & snowshoe the backcountry. My positive, can-do attitude follows me on the Canton Land Conservation Trust Board, (former treasurer), the Canton Democratic Town Committee, the Treasurer of the future Canton Dog Park and member of the Town of Canton’s Conservation Commission. Professionally, I have been a public and private school teacher for grades K-8, school technology coordinator and administrator for pre-school – 12 with a Doctorate in Educational Leadership. I am currently in the corporate world, working for Cigna. My background in education, technology and finance has prepared me to be an effective member of the Canton Board of Selectmen. I look forward to meeting the needs of our community by using science and data to promote responsible, planned growth, such as a healthy Farmington River, the only Green Dog Park in CT, renewable energy, and support of innovative, future-facing small industries. Let’s work together to build an environmentally conscious, economically vibrant town that cares for its people and maintains its rural character and deep heritage.
Katie Lukas, Candidate for Board of Selectmen
I’ve lived in a lot of places big and small, and it’s only in Canton that I’d consider running for office. My husband and I are raising our three boys here. We chose Canton not only because I went to high school here, but because we were able to afford a wonderful ancient house with a swimming pond and a big yard. Because we’re right in the middle of a smorgasbord of natural resources to explore each weekend. Because the schools are amazing and sweet, full of deeply committed teachers.
My long career in marketing and media helps. I’ve also served on several non-profit boards, and I’m a member of Canton’s Economic Development Agency. As a mother and as an entrepreneur and businessperson, I’m invested in the community. But that’s not why I decided to run.
I decided to run because so much of what makes Canton wonderful feels endangered. We have historic sites falling apart. We have a main road that is full of blighted properties and missed opportunities. We have natural resources that need strong stewardship. We have a population of residents that needs our committed support. We have an amazing arts community that has no town support structure.
There is so much here to love, and so much work to do. I hope to be one of the people you choose to do both.
Katie Kenney, Candidate for Board of Finance
I was born and raised in Canton, the youngest of the five “Kenney girls.” My relationship to the town was shaped by a childhood tagging along with my mother, who was the Canton and Avon correspondent for the Hartford Courant. We went to Canton Town Hall every day for board and commission meetings or to interview town officials. In those days, regular local coverage of town events in our daily paper made town government both accessible and accountable to Canton residents. I am running for Board of Finance because I believe it is the job of town officials to find new ways to make local government just as much of an open book to Canton residents today. I bring both formal training and practical experience to the job. I have a Master’s in Public Administration from Columbia University and a Ph.D. in Public and International Affairs and Demography from Princeton. I have also served on numerous public and non-profit boards, including, most recently, Canton’s Conservation Commission. In the spring of 2019, I spear-headed the successful Collinsville Trees petition campaign to support town funding (matched by a grant) for a plan to evaluate and replace our historic village’s street trees. I am excited to bring the same kind of pro-active approach to planning and budgeting for the future we want for our town.
Mary Tomolonius, Candidate for Board of Finance
As a long-time Canton resident, I am running again for the Board of Finance because I believe we need to be fiscally conservative, cognizant of our residents’ needs and to increase our commercial tax base in order to lower taxes for our residents. I am a former Canton First Selectman, have served as a member of the Board of Finance since 2009, and have been a resident of Canton for over forty years. In addition to serving as an elected official, I am the Executive Director of the Connecticut Association for Community Transportation. I also volunteer as a board member of the Canton Education Foundation and a member of the Cherry Brook Garden Club. I am the past president of the Canton Chamber of Commerce, and I chaired the annual Sam Collins Day event for over two decades. Throughout my life, I have volunteered in numerous other capacities including as a soccer coach, PTO president, and Farmington Valley Visitors Association president. I co-founded CT Supports Our Soldiers and have received many awards for public service. I look forward to continuing to serve the citizens of Canton on the Board of Finance.
Erika Hayes, Candidate for Board of Education
When my family and I were looking to relocate to the Farmington Valley 12 years ago, we picked Canton based in part on our experience touring Cherry Brook Primary School. Meeting the staff and administrators and walking around the building, we fell in love with the whole vibe of the school. Since then I have been an active volunteer in the schools, and currently have two children enrolled in the Canton Public Schools. In addition, I am a volunteer at the Canton Food Bank. Over the years, we have realized what a truly unique and special place Canton is, and are proud to call it home!
Having been appointed to serve on the Canton Board of Education one year ago, it would be an honor to be elected and continue this important work for a full term. I have gained valuable knowledge serving on the Finance and Curriculum committees that I will continue to build on over the next 4 years. I believe that I bring an open-minded, pragmatic, and thoughtful approach that considers different perspectives to the board. I will continue to listen to students, families, staff and administrators, and to put in the work required to keep Canton schools as strong as possible in every area. Having received a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a Master’s degree in Education with a focus in Counseling, the mental health of our students is very important to me and will continue to be a top priority.
Joe Scheideler, Candidate for Board of Education
I have lived in Canton since 1978 with my wife Barbara. Together we raised our three children, all of whom attended the Canton Public Schools. Currently we have two grandsons at Canton Intermediate School.
I was honored to have been elected to the Board of Education four years ago. During my first term, the Board addressed several important issues, including the implementation of student centered learning, revising the class size policy, creating a new homework policy, recognizing the importance of respecting diversity and good citizenship, and revising the role and scope of athletics in our schools. I am currently part of the task force studying the use of technology in our classrooms. I was fortunate to have been part of the search committee which selected our new middle school principal. In all of these activities the Board has eagerly sought input and participation from parents and community members.
Prior to my tenure on the Board, I spent 37 years as a social studies teacher, coach, advisor, athletic director and administrator in the Canton Schools. In 2004 I became the first principal of Canton Middle School, creating an age appropriate educational environment for Canton’s early adolescents. Canton Middle School was named the Connecticut Association of School’s Middle School of the Year in 2009. I was selected the Connecticut Middle School Principal of the Year in 2013. While principal I also chaired the Connecticut Middle School Board for several years. I also served on Canton’s Youth Service’s Board for a decade. Since retiring in 2014, I have enjoyed traveling, skiing, hiking, spending time with my family, and - serving on the Board of Education.
For the last three years I have co-chaired the Board’s finance committee. The Board has been able to create very responsible budgets that have allowed the schools and our students to be successful while being fiscally responsible. As a Board member, I have been Canton’s delegate to the Capital Region Educational Council (CREC) and currently serve on CREC’s Board of Directors.
Providing the best possible education for all of Canton’s students is one of our town’s most important responsibilities. As a member of the Board of Education for the last four years this has been, and will continue to be, our overriding goal.
David Sinish, Candidate for Board of Assessment Appeals
I feel strongly that taxpayers need to have an opportunity to question and understand the derivation of their tax assessment. I have served on the Board of Assessment Appeals for the past six years, for the past three years as Chairman. Listening to taxpayers and reviewing their concerns is what the Board does. One reason the early colonists came was to escape the abusive tax practices of the King. They established this mechanism of peer tax review, basic to what we have today. My professional career has been based on financial and value assessment-excellent skills to have for this position. My wife Carrie and I have lived in Canton for 47 years and raised our two children here. I served for ten years as a Selectman and currently a member of the Inland Wetlands and Watercourses Agency. You may know me as a paddler and an a deeply involved advocate of the Farmington River.