Quiet Heroes of New Canaan: JoAnn Shaughnessy

[Editor’s Note: This is the first installment of a new “Quiet Heroes” series. We’re accepting nominations for it, see guidelines here.]

Robin Bates-Mason, who gives of her time for the town’s Volunteer Shopping Program, visited Walter Stewart’s Market as usual one day last week. 

Picking up groceries for “her” designated senior, New Canaan’s Margaret Cooper, Bates-Mason found herself in JoAnn Shaughnessy’s lane. A cashier at Stewart’s for about two years, Shaughnessy recognized Cooper’s name. “She said, ‘Oh, hold on a sec, I just want to write her a message’ and ran over to get a marker,” Bates-Mason recalled. 

Shaughnessy wrote: “Hi Margaret. Hope you’re well.

New Canaan League’s ‘Women Rock the Vote’ Celebration Scheduled for Feb. 29

A long-established New Canaan nonprofit organization is marking a major anniversary with a community event this month that’s designed to be inclusive and affordable. The League of Women Voters of New Canaan is celebrating the centennial of the 19th Amendment’s ratification—the U.S. Constitution amendment that says state and federal governments cannot deny people the right to vote based on sex—with “Women Rock the Vote.”

To be held starting at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 29 at the Carriage Barn in Waveny, it will include local New Canaan Bands—the house band from the New Canaan School of Rock, Rock Paper Soul and Bad Dog Buddy—and drinks will be provided as part of a $30 ticket for those 21 and older ($20 tickets for all others). 

“I think it’s going to be a great time,” Robin Bates-Mason, who is helping lead a League committee that’s organizing the event and also includes Kiowa Kosche, Krista Neilson, Alyssa MacKenzie, Eilish Main and Karen Ferguson. 

“We want people thinking it only has ben 100 years [since women got the right to vote] and this is a huge achievement and let’s celebrate this and get people to learn more about what the League of Women Voters does,” Bates-Mason said. The national League was formed in 1920, she said, while the New Canaan chapter formed about 20 years later. 

Plans for “Women Rock the Vote” started coming together last spring, Bates-Mason said. “We wanted something that will be fun, a celebration,” she said.

Letter: New Canaan Fortunate for Robin Bates-Mason’s Service

As a father of five who has had the privilege of calling New Canaan home for the last 30 years, I care deeply about the choices made in Town Hall. As an unaffiliated voter, I represent a growing demographic in New Canaan. We value our independent thinking, and expect the government that represents us to reflect our values regardless of political orientation. 

As a concerned resident, I believe my priorities mirror those of my neighbors: the preservation of the aspects of town we cherish such as its character and a commitment to the modernizations that encourage our town to flourish, with a renewed dedication to fiscally minded decision-making. 

New Canaan’s viability rests on our ability to be sustainable in every sense of the word, and encompasses every aspect of our community and its governance. These entities are all intricately connected and require an adept municipal government that is knowledgeable about relevant information, willing to take on the work to become conversant on new topics, and familiar with the processes and nuances implicit to town management. As I have gotten to know Robin Bates-Mason it has become evident that she—because of her career, community involvement, affability, and perseverance—is someone who can isolate issues, relate to others, collaborate towards a solution, and get the job done. 

Robin is distinctly capable as both a valuable group member, and as a leader when necessary.

Letter: Robin Bates-Mason for Town Council

Robin Bates-Mason would make a fine member of the Town Council. Robin grew up in Darien and has lived in New Canaan for 20 years — she knows this area well. She has two sons at New Canaan High School. Robin organized and leads Planet New Canaan where I have observed firsthand her knowledge, caring and energy helping New Canaan to be more green, to deal with plastic bags, to pick up litter, to educate school kids and adults with speakers and films, along with many other efforts. New Canaan is recycling less of its waste and spending substantially more than nearby towns on waste disposal.