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.