New Canaan resident Penny Young is seeking the endorsement of the Republican Party for re-election to the Town Council. We put some questions to the incumbent about her candidacy. Our exchange follows.
New Canaanite: Tell us about yourself—how long have you lived in New Canaan, what you have been involved with here in town and what led to your decision to see re-election?
Penny Young: My husband and I have called New Canaan home for 40-plus years, raising our two children within the fine educational opportunities of the New Canaan school system. With such a lifetime commitment to our town, it is with great enthusiasm that I announce my candidacy for a position on the Town Council. Community service is an integral part of my DNA and our town has provided multiple opportunities for me to contribute my ideas and energy. I have always been involved with our children’s activities and parent/teacher/sports organizations, volunteered at the Nature Center, League of Women Voters voter services and community education efforts, Junior League Domestic Abuse and fundraising programs, NC Beautification League, and town government, often elected to key leadership positions. With a master’s degree in Gerontology, I spearheaded the establishment/expansion/and ongoing support of the Lapham Community Center, serve as an adviser to Staying Put and Getabout Van, co-founded the Elder Care Council, serve on the board of Waveny LifeCare Network, head the regional and statewide Agency on Aging, and have received a gubernatorial appointment to the CT Commission on Women, Children, Seniors, Equity and Opportunity. Additionally I am a board member of the Yankee Institute, a strong CT-based fiscally focused public policy think tank, and the Stamford Symphony Orchestra. My decision to seek re-election was based on my long-standing commitment to our community, encouragement by colleagues with whom I serve on boards and commissions, and strong support by citizens whom I have been privileged to serve, and continued interest in the challenges facing our Town. As we welcome new members on to the Council, I will bring deep institutional knowledge that will serve as a basis for our continued analysis and actions which benefit our citizens and our community.
What have been your biggest contributions to the elected body for which you are seeking GOP endorsement at the July 20 caucus?
I was instrumental in the Town Council’s calling for a Charter Revision Commission and, while always being mindful and respectful of the appropriate balance of regulatory provisions and their impact on the community, served on that effort which brought to light numerous policies which needed to be researched, updated, and put before the voters for approval. Attentive to the need to support the on-going maintenance of our Town resources, I co-chaired the Building Use and Evaluation study which resulted in an in-depth study of our 57 town-owned buildings including an engineering consultant’s 25-year life cycle recommendations and commitments by our Department heads to closer and more cost-efficient attention. As a follow up to this study, ongoing efforts for energy efficiencies through natural gas, Combined Heat & Power and solar, and the critical need for extended cell service, I have been appointed to the Selectman’s Building and Infrastructure committee. And with a social services background I have been active, especially through the challenges of Covid-19, in ensuring that the health and welfare of our citizens, with an extra amount of attention to older adults, receives careful focus and consideration at budget time. Challenges will always present themselves in each of these areas but, as always, I look forward to building consensus with my colleagues on the Town Council as we develop sound approaches to their resolution.
What is your vision for the elected body for which you are seeking re-election?
As I look ahead to continued service on the Town Council, the word “respect” is paramount. Through conscientious efforts, the relationship among and between members of governing bodies, the administration, and departments has continued to grow and prosper. The respect shown for deep and broad analysis of town operations and policies, cordial collegial relations, and impressive delivery of flat budgets and high-level services is praiseworthy and deserving of continued focus. This was evidenced during the challenging times of Covid-19 and is the glue which holds our government and community together. As issues arise I’ve listened, digested, proffered possible solutions, and tried to respect and assure everyone’s voice is heard with balanced receptivity. I must say though that I am deeply troubled by the tone and often disrespectful comments which have been made recently with the issues of school start times and new library/1913 preservation. As service on the Town Council affords a visible presence in the community, I am looking forward to an opportunity to help quiet the rancor and restore a more respectful tone as we promote the values which we all hold dear and represent the best of our community. I encourage all Republicans to attend the July 20th Caucus to select candidates for the November 2nd election. It is an honor and privilege to serve on the Town Council. Thank you for supporting my re-election to the Town Council.
[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.]