New Canaan resident Hugo Alves is seeking the endorsement of the Republican Party for the two-year term on an open Board of Education seat at the July 20 caucus. We put some questions to Alves 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 led to your decision to seek re-election?
Hugo Alves: My wife, Maria, and I have lived in New Canaan for the past 11 years. Born in Portugal, I was raised in New Haven County, the son of accountants. After graduating from UConn in 2000 with a degree in economics, I lived between NYC and Norwalk which is where I was exposed to the “magic” of New Canaan. From the moment we first walked the village sidewalks after a dinner one night, Maria and I knew this was where we would raise our family. Since then, we’ve built two homes and now have three daughters, ages 7, 5 and 2 at West and Playland Nursery. Maria is on the board of the Young Women’s League and I sit on the board of the New Canaan Museum and Historical Society, serving also on the finance committee. We feel it’s important to be engaged as active members of our local community; to promote and protect the values that brought us to New Canaan and what makes it so special. It’s no question our schools are among the town’s greatest asset and of the utmost importance since it’s where our kids spend the bulk of their youth. The quality of our education is what brings so many wonderful people together to build a community. In the end, it’s all about the kids.
What qualifies you for the office you are seeking?
First off, I’m a parent of three young children just beginning their educational journey. Like many other young families in town, I have real skin in the game. We also convinced my in-laws to move here from Westchester, so I’ve got both ends covered. I’ve always been an involved and vocal member of past organizations, schools and locales and often held positions of leadership and volunteerism. I’m a member of the largest financial services advocacy group, FINESCA, and routinely make trips to D.C. to meet with our representatives and ensure they understand and address the issues and interests of their constituents. In my career as a financial planner, I’ve built a business from the ground up—hiring, managing and leading, while delivering on the promise of building financial security for my clients. Daily, my job is to listen to people, help them become clear in their objectives, develop a plan and then execute and monitor that plan to fruition. I feel that’s an important skillset to bring to any town board or council whose role is to listen to the issues and interests of the community and work with our leaders to follow through on the promise. Like financial planning or running any business, the legislative process should be collaborative, transparent and efficient—ultimately reflecting the values of the people we represent. Our elected officials serve their constituents, and the boards need to hold them accountable.
What is your vision for the elected body for which you are seeking re-election?
My close friends know that I have no hidden agenda and wear my heart on my sleeve—for better or worse. I’ve been a registered Republican since the day after my 18th birthday—my birthday is Veterans Day and town offices are closed. We even have a star-spangled elephant ornament for our Christmas tree. While some factions of the party have lost their way recently, my traditional conservative values—liberty, accountability, fairness and fiscal common sense—remain intact. My wife and I care deeply about our children and their future and New Canaan schools have a huge impact on how they grow up. We’re in this for the long haul and I vow to listen to our residents, help them understand the decisions that need to be made so they have an active voice in shaping their children’s education. I want to provide the administration with the resources they need to evolve while delivering the type of education that is important to the parents and grandparents of New Canaan. There is no room for complacency on our BOE and engaged, energized parents will ensure the best possible outcomes for our kids and our community.
[Editor’s Note: Through 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.]