New Canaan resident Dan Bennett is seeking the endorsement of the Republican Party for a seat on the elected Board of Education. We put some questions to Bennett about his candidacy. Our exchange follows.
New Canaanite: Tell us about yourself—how long have you lived in New Canaan, what have you been involved with here in town and what has led you to seek elected office?
Dan Bennett: We have lived in New Canaan for over seven years. When my wife Julie and I moved here, after spending over a decade in NYC, our oldest son was almost two, Julie was pregnant with our middle son, and our little guy was still a few years away. We both grew up in Cheshire, CT where we attended public elementary, middle and high school and had a wonderful community and educational experience. We were looking for a town to raise our family with a focus on a great community for kids and an excellent public school system. New Canaan has been a winning choice on both fronts. We are members of St. Aloysius parish and The Country Club of New Canaan. Julie was active in Newcomers and a room mom at South School and Toddlertime. I have volunteered as a flag football coach and with New Canaan baseball coaching pre-K, K and the A division. An active and engaged community is important for our kids. I am passionate about education for all kids and believe that we are educating the future of our community and our country. I am seeking an elected seat as a volunteer on Board of Education because I want to bring energy and community and parental engagement to the BOE and to help ensure that all our kids get the best possible public education.
What qualifies you for the office you are seeking?
I attended Villanova University graduating with a degree in accounting, then graduated from Harvard Law School before starting my career as an attorney in New York focused on corporate, real estate and structured finance. After three years as an attorney, I have spent the past 16 years in the commercial real estate lending and structured finance business initially at Goldman Sachs and now at LoanCore Capital in Greenwich. I think my strong legal, finance and accounting background can help bring a different perspective and skill set to the BOE and I can add value in the BOE’s oversight function on budgets, BOE policies and bylaw compliance and BOE oversight of curriculum. But most importantly, I have the passion and energy as an engaged parent with young children in the school system to collaborate with the other BOE members, the administration, the teachers, the community and parents to continue to provide the absolute best education for all New Canaan kids.
What is your vision for the elected body for which you are seeking GOP endorsement at the July 20 caucus?
Increased transparency. More accessibility. More community and parent engagement. Thoughtful and engaged oversight of the administration. Focus on fiscal responsibility and efficiency. My vision for the BOE is to have a very engaged and active BOE that is working with the administration to represent the taxpayers, parents and students in our community to ensure we continue to deliver a best in class education in a fiscally responsible way. I think the BOE is elected to ask questions and substantively engage with the administration on all issues, from budget efficiencies, curriculum oversight, school start time implementation and pushing back on Hartford and state government overreach. The BOE is the elected voice for our community and our kids, and needs to be active, engaged and accessible to the whole community to hear and respond to concerns or issues raised by parents or others in the community and then work with the administration to ensure that we as a town address all issues in a thoughtful and transparent manner.
[Editor’s Note: Between June 28 and July 9, NewCanaanite.com is publishing Q&As with local Republicans seeking party endorsement for elected offices in contested races at the July 20 GOP caucus. We will publish letters of endorsement for the Republican caucus and Democratic endorsement meeting through July 9. Comments are disabled on this post.]