Monthly Archives: September 2017

Kevin Keenan (D): Why I am a candidate

Town Tribune Article, September 28, 2017.  When I announced to family and friends my intent to run for Selectman this year, the most common response was a question: “Why?” I admit that this is what I had to answer for myself before I made the decision to declare my candidacy. When l was first approached by our current Selectman, Don Lowe, I immediately thought about the time I spent on the Board of Education, where I served from 2000-2010, and those monthly (plus) meetings.

In the case of both the Board of Education and Selectman positions, someone asked me to serve. When I stand at the Sherman Tax Collector’s counter and hand over my check for property taxes I always mention, “I feel like such a citizen…” For the majority of people, that is the extent of community participation. But having served on the BOE I know what is involved with participating in the important decision-making that will impact the Town of Sherman.

My time on the Board of Education reflects the level of commitment these volunteer positions require. In the beginning, monthly meetings led to spending extra time getting acquainted with the issues, attending the school functions, and developing an annual budget. Then there were the monthly subcommittee meetings: I served on both the maintenance and policy committees.

Policy was interesting because the Board’s policies basically dictate what happens in the school and serve as a guide for the Board’s actions. These policies also, to an extent, had to be in sync with the State of Connecticut mandates. So at times the discussions regarding the policy were functional and philosophical with respect to crafting a policy that satisfied the State mandate, but more importantly its application to Sherman. During my tenure on the BOE the policies were in need of updating, so this was an important assignment.

Maintenance is something near and dear to my heart because of my business as a general contractor and builder. Properly functioning buildings and the environments within them are essential to the health and well being of everyone inside. In addition, the costs of non-functioning buildings can be a detriment to everyone “outside” – namely the taxpayers who would be required to fund solutions. In years of tight budgets there were always lively discussions about the merits of improving curriculum versus replacing a roof.

I recognize now that my time on both of these subcommittees developed the knowledge and skills that will serve me well as a Selectman. Indeed, with the current Connecticut budget dilemma and the uncertainty of State funding, Sherman will be making some tough choices that will require a more efficient decision-making process. As a town, we have to be prepared to help ourselves, and to use our financial resources in the most expeditious manner.

I built a house in Sherman 28 years ago, raised three children who were educated in the Sherman School, pay my taxes, and continue to enjoy the amenities that Sherman and the surrounding area offer with my wife Christine and Lieutenant (Lieu) , the border collie. I have the range of experience and the commitment to Sherman that can make this town we all love even better: And that’s why I have decided to run for Selectman.

Sherman Democratic Town Committee Newsletter 9/27/2017

Welcome to Part Two of our special Election Edition newsletter. Our goal is to provide our readers with a more in-depth look at our candidates for the town elections, to be held on November 7. In this edition, we introduce those running for Planning and Zoning, Zoning Board of Appeals, and Board of Assessment Appeals. We also give space for James Neunzig and David Silvay, candidates for Sherman Board of Education, to outline their platform.

To continue…click here

Don Lowe (D) Candidate for First Selectman

Town Tribune Article, September 21, 2017.

I am deeply honored to be a candidate for First Selectman. I wouldn’t take this on if I didn’t think I could improve Sherman and give maximum commitment toward keeping your tax bill low and your safety and well-being bolstered. I will work for you. If elected, the job of First Selectman will be my only professional obligation. Over the next seven weeks I hope to convince you that my ability to lead and work effectively with others, along with my grit and experience, will offer you the best choice for Sherman’s next First Selectman.

Here’s what you can expect with me as your First Selectman:

Your town budgets will be as lean as possible. It’s no accident that your Town budget since I have been a Selectman these last two years have been so reasonable. Previous to this, before I came on the board, Sherman’s Town budget grew 20% in four years (2011 thru 2015). Those were the highest Town budget increases over a four year span in Sherman’s history. I will be even more effective as First Selectman at continuing this practice of careful and effective budgeting. It will my number one priority. (The Town budget is the budget the Board of Selectman is responsible for. It’s 37% of the total budget. The School budget makes up the rest.)

I will create the necessary synergy required for all Town entities to
work together. The disconnect right now, for example, between the First Selectman’s office and Park and Rec is palpable. As diligent volunteers,  they deserve better treatment by their town leader as do other boards and commissions in town. Our Seniors deserve more attention and resources pointed in that direction and I will advocate for that, especially in part-time staffing needs. I will listen to the concerns of our Public Works employees and treat them with respect. Teamwork and motivating people to work together is a personal strength and if I am First Selectman there will be much better harmony and synchronization between Town agencies.

I will be responsive. I will listen and react. Board of Selectmen meetings will welcome feedback and comments from the public. The public will hear what is being said by the Selectmen and if issues are cloudy they will be explained. I want people to understand what is going on in Town. Shortcomings such as our undrinkable water will be dealt with. Sherman’s sodium levels in its drinking water have been off-the-charts for four years now. Water for both Town and private entities is undrinkable. Yet, after all this time, we are finally meeting with the state health officials (this Friday Sept. 22) who can help us begin the process of alleviating this critical situation. I don’t understand how something like this could go on for this long without efforts to remediate it. But it has. It’s the same for reliable cell phone service. Frustrated at seeing the Residents for Reliable Cell Service receive the same placating treatment meeting after meeting, I am proposing a Cell Service Committee for which I will volunteer to be the liaison to the First Selectman’s office. If I am First Selectman it will make facilitating the wonderful efforts of these concerned citizens even more productive.

I am going to strengthen our business community. Yes, we have one. And we need each and every one of them. Yet, I have spoken with long-time citizens who didn’t know certain businesses even exist – an indication of the need for proper signage that I will be advocating for. I will start an outreach program to help businesses do better and take advantage of each other’s success. I am hopeful that this will extend to the trade businesses as well.

As First Selectman, I will support all efforts to protect Candlewood
Lake. I will continue supporting the Candlewood Lake Authority, which offers the experience and expertise toward keeping Candlewood swim-able, boat-able, and fish-able. It’s outrageous that certain lake contingents, particularly a faction from New Fairfield, went out their way to undermine the CLA. As your First Selectman, I would fight that. It’s like this: our local area and our Town’s economic success is intrinsically tied to the health of the lake. If your First Selectman doesn’t speak out against attempts to undermine the lake’s health then we are playing fast and loose with the local economy. (And goodness knows Connecticut doesn’t need more economic bad news!) I will bring a change here and fight for the health of Candlewood Lake.

Thank you Town Tribune for giving all the candidates a voice here.
There’s much more to tell you, and in the coming weeks I will lay out
other objectives, particularly with respect to your taxes and our children’s education. Feel free to contact me at or 860 778 3394.