Keith Richey, a corporate lawyer who has served the town for 20-plus years on the Parking and Parks & Recreation Commissions, on Monday announced his candidacy for the Town Council. We put some questions to Richey ahead of the July 25 Republican caucus, where he will seek party backing.
Here’s our exchange.
New Canaanite: What is your background professionally and in terms of living and volunteering here in New Canaan?
Keith Richey: As a corporate lawyer I specialized in international tax planning for 39 years, starting with Exxon/Mobil out of law school, then Citibank where I became General Tax Counsel for their worldwide Private Bank, left to run the International Tax Planning function for Xerox, then ITT and their spin-off Xylem, retiring in 2018. My 39 years of professional experience included significant involvement in law, tax, finance, and deal making.
I grew up in Los Angeles, California. I graduated with a BS in Business Administration from the University of Southern California, cum laude, earned my JD from the University of Texas at Austin, and a Masters of Laws in Tax Law from New York University. My wife, Marina, and I have been residents and taxpayers in New Canaan since 1991. We have a son and a daughter who both attended New Canaan public schools.
A commitment to community service has been a core value my entire life. In New Canaan I served as chairman of the Parking Commission from 2000 to 2021 and currently am a member of the Parks and Recreation Commission. While practicing law, I was a member and president of the Stamford Tax Association and also was the Vice-President in charge of the International Fiscal Association, Connecticut Region from 1999 to 2019.
I joined the Exchange Club when we arrived in New Canaan and served as President years ago and am now the club’s Program Chairman. After retiring in 2018, I joined the Men’s Club of New Canaan where I have served as Vice-President/Program Chair (2019-2020) and President (2020-2021), and am now an avid participant in their Tennis and Paddleball groups, Cinema Club, Book Club, and Amateur Chefs group. My wife and I were longtime members of the New Canaan Dance Club and served as Treasurers and President of that organization. I have been a member of the Gridiron Club of New Canaan since we arrived in New Canaan and have been an occasional writer and extremely poor performer. My children and I were members of the YMCA Indian Guides and Princesses and I was Chief of the Iroquois Tribe. I am currently President of the Poinsettia Club. Thus, in virtually every organization of which I have been a member, I have been selected to key leadership positions. In all of these roles, I have worked for consensus and tried to maintain a sense of perspective as well as a sense of humor.
Why are you running for the Town Council?
I love New Canaan. As demonstrated by my years of involvement and leadership in all aspects of New Canaan including serving in two town commissions for the last 22 years, I am committed to serving this community and have effective people and leadership skills. My career as a lawyer dealing with intricate laws and finance, combined with my years of service, have prepared me to be a uniquely qualified candidate. Therefore, I believe that I can best contribute to the town of New Canaan by being on Town Council.
What do you view as the biggest issues facing our town?
For all age citizens, keeping taxes and fees low is critical to enjoying our lives in New Canaan.
- From a student’s and parents’ perspective, naturally maintaining New Canaan’s schools’ top ratings and our athletic facilities are concerns, but the sleeper issues are bullying, depression, drug abuse, suicide and school safety. In addition to parental involvement, these problems are best addressed by providing mental health services at our schools. Great strides have been made in this direction by the school administration but we must stay committed for the sake of our students.
- Currently for commuters, the biggest issue is the track work which has closed the New Canaan line from Stamford. The bus service offered as a replacement is a poor alternative which is causing many commuters to drive to Darien to catch the train (and face the challenge of finding a parking space).
- For some, the hottest issue is the potential location of the cell tower on the west side of town. As you have reported, a revitalized Utilities Council has been created to hear from impartial experts and develop a set of findings. Any findings and conclusions must be subject to a community wide discussion and input and I look forward to working closely with the Utilities Commission, administration and voters as we reach consensus on this critically needed public safety issue.
- Lastly, ill-conceived state legislation (“8-30g”) and similar efforts which are utilized by property developers to attempt to overcome local zoning requirements is a significant exposure for the town that must be resisted using any and all means necessary.
Describe an instance where a Town Council decision changed your life in New Canaan for the better.
The Town Council’s support for the renovation of the Police Station will make our lives better because the Police Station has the perfect location to provide fast deployment to the schools and downtown, is next to EMS, has plenty of parking, and its stately façade on the main entry road into New Canaan shows visitors that they have reached the best of New England.
This is a bit of a trick question inasmuch as, besides the Town Council’s legislative role, one of the Town Council’s responsibilities is to review and have final approval/rejection of all proposed appropriations. Therefore, every town expenditure made to maintain our wonderful parks, our great schools, facilities such as the Lapham Community Center, our roads and other infrastructure, plus the health department and other terrific services that we enjoy can be attributed in some way to the actions of the Town Council.
Finally, tell us something about yourself that many New Canaanites likely don’t know.
My first job was delivering newspapers. As a Town Councilman I will continue this early experience in “communication” by being available to each citizen and will address their concerns in a timely manner.