New Canaan’s Maria Naughton, an educator who has served on the Town Council for four years, this week announced her candidacy for re-election to the legislative body. We put some questions to Naughton ahead of the July 25 Republican caucus, where she 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?
Maria Naughton: After working for several years at GE Capital in the Aviation Services arm of the company, I decided to shift my career path into the field of education. I completed my master’s degree in teaching at Sacred Heart University and began my teaching career in a middle school in Norwalk. While teaching, I continued my graduate studies, focusing on Instructional Technology and Educational Leadership. I am certified to teach grades K-12 and also hold CT state certification in Administration.
For the last 20+ years, I have worked at all levels in education, and in many capacities from being a classroom teacher to training teachers and administrators. Additionally, I am a licensed Realtor, and have been since 2014.
In terms of living in New Canaan, my husband, Bob and I have lived here since 2002, and we have four children who have benefited from our school system. I have had the pleasure of serving on the RTC, the Board of Education, and most recently, the Town Council. In addition, I volunteer at St. Aloysius Church, and I am a strong supporter of their Emmaus program, which is a program whose goal is to shepherd students on their personal journey of Christian faith. Through that program, my husband and I proudly join the ranks of volunteers who have served thousands of high school students over the years.
Why are you running for re-election as a Town Councilman?
I am seeking re-election on the Town Council to continue the valuable work our board, and all town boards, have been doing. New Canaan is a very special town. I am even more convinced of that after completing four budget cycles and being part of the process of hearing about every operation in town, and ultimately voting to approve funding.
In addition, there are so many talented professionals in our town who give so generously of their time to work through every step of the budget process, and who thoughtfully arrive at decisions to benefit our entire town population. My personal goal is to continue to be part of the process, and to listen and advocate for the residents and taxpayers in town.
What do you view as the biggest issues facing New Canaan?
I think one of the greatest issues we face is the challenge of balancing town growth with the ideals of conservation and development. One example is finding a way to meet ongoing affordable housing needs. It is clear that we have to do it in a way that respects all residents. Regarding town development, we must maintain an ongoing sense of fiscal prudence while maximizing opportunities as they arise, all while ensuring transparency along the way.
What do you view as your single major accomplishment as a Town Councilman?
On Town Council, we as a board are presented with such a variety of issues, which often lead to lively discussions as we work toward resolving them. I am very proud of our work as a whole board, and feel proud of our ability to engage in meaningful discussions on substantive issues. Whether the issue at hand is about salaries, funding walkways in the parks or ordinances to encourage more volunteers in our town, I am proud that I can advocate on behalf of taxpayers, and contribute to votes that result in improved outcomes for our town as a whole.
Tell us something about yourself that many New Canaanites likely don’t know.
Many New Canaanites might not know that in my spare time, I am usually engaging in some creative art or craft activity. I enjoy drawing, painting and photography, but most recently, I have taken up crochet. Recent projects include blankets, and bucket hats, but my current project is a beach coverup. Crocheting is a total obsession, and apparently not without risk, as I found out when I developed “crochet elbow” (aka tendonitis) on one occasion.