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Meet the Candidate: Shari Cantor

The Cantor family. From left: Josh, Theresa, Ben, Shari, Sam, Jacob, and Michael. Submitted photo

We-Ha.com is offering our readers the opportunity to meet the candidates running in the Nov. 5, 2019, municipal election. 

Compiled by Ronni Newton

We-Ha.com is offering our readers the opportunity to “Meet the Candidate” – designed to help them get to know the candidates running for office in the 2019 municipal election.

Identical questionnaires have been sent to all candidates, and each profile received has been submitted directly to We-Ha.com by the candidate or the candidate’s campaign management. The responses have not been edited but have been formatted to match our publication style. Questions left blank have been deleted.

As profiles are received, they will be published on We-Ha.com under the “Government” tab. We-Ha.com is not making endorsements of any political candidates but we are publishing this information in order to assist voters in being informed and prepared when they go to the polls on Nov. 5.

If you are a candidate and wish to submit a profile, please return it by email to Ronni Newton at [email protected] as soon as possible.

Name: Shari Cantor 

Age: 59

Party, position seeking: Democrat, Re-election to Town Council

Family information: I was fortunate to be born and raised in West Hartford. My mother, Rose Granow, still lives in the house where I grew up. I met my husband, Michael upon my graduation from UConn and we have been married for 34 years. We have four sons – Josh, Sam, Ben, and Jacob – all graduates from our public schools; and have recently welcomed a daughter-in-law, Theresa, in our family.

Other occupation, if applicable: For me, Mayor of West Hartford is a full time job and I have devoted my time and energies to that role over the last 3 years as Mayor of West Hartford. Beyond that responsibility, I am a member of the University of Connecticut Board of Trustees, a member of the boards of Foodshare, the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center Foundation, the West Hartford Art League, and the American School for the Deaf. I am a West Hartford Rotarian and have devoted time over the past several years to volunteering for a number of other non-profits.

Political experience: I’ve served as the Mayor of West Hartford since 2016. Previously, I served as our town’s Deputy Mayor from 2011-2016, and have continuously served on the Town Council starting in 2004.

Other relevant experience: I graduated magna cum laude with an accounting degree from the UConn School of Business, and I was proud to be inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame in 2017. I am a registered Certified Public Accountant; and after graduating from UConn, I worked for PricewaterhouseCoopers and Cigna. 

Why are you running for office? I love my hometown, and although we have accomplished a lot, I believe the best is yet to come. My husband and I chose West Hartford because we found a quality of life that was second to none, a loving and welcoming community, and an environment where our children would learn and be nurtured.

Working together, we have and will

  • Prioritize our award winning public schools by investing dollars efficiently and effectively
  • Build on our strong local economy with thriving commercial centers throughout town-adding over 90 businesses in the past 18 months and maintain strong home values
  • Govern with fiscal responsibility and sound town management, invest in our police and fire departments to ensure the highest quality public safety, local infrastructure, senior centers, libraries and parks and strengthen our commitment to sustainability.

As Mayor I will continue to lead with civility and respect. We need leadership that is thoughtful and compassionate, while also remaining fiscally responsible. I understand how critical it is to be innovative and to invest in our future. We have a vibrant, diverse and inclusive community that needs to be celebrated and treasured so that we remain one of the best places to live in the country.

What issue(s) are your primary area of focus? West Hartford has been a shining star in our region, state and country for years and I’m running again to keep it that way. That starts with fiscal responsibility: we are one of only a very few municipalities in our nation that are AAA-bond rated by both Moody’s and Standard and Poor’s.

While we focus on our finances, we also must ensure a high quality of life for all our residents. That means continued investments in public safety. It means making our great public schools even greater, it means beautiful parks, enriching our active senior centers and libraries, and making more investments in our infrastructure and town economy. Our residents expect the best, and I work every day to meet their high expectations – it’s why West Hartford is one of the top communities in the country.

Please provide a brief statement regarding your opinion of the Town of West Hartford’s fiscal situation, and what, if anything, can be immediately addressed. (This question is more relevant to Town Council candidates, but Board of Education candidates are welcome to comment on the school budget.) The single biggest issue that towns and cities across Connecticut face is affordability and equity. I understand this because, from day one, I made myself available to constituents through office hours across our town. I wanted to hear from all of our residents and understand what their priorities are, and where they think we can do better. I understand we can’t address this problem alone and it will not improve overnight.

This requires governing with a long-term vision that makes smart and strategic investments in our community. With fiscal responsibility we can continue to grow our local economy, which in turn helps increase revenues, preserve our quality of life, and make our town the welcoming place we want it to be. 

What do you feel differentiates you from other candidates also running for this position? I look at the responsibilities as Mayor through the eyes of a lifelong resident, parent and daughter of an amazing nonagenarian Mom – that’s the reason I’m running and the reason I serve. I want to make sure that West Hartford provides the same opportunities and quality of life as it did when I grew up here. It’s why I work tirelessly on behalf of our community to listen and respond to every resident, because I want my children, friends, and neighbors to have the same experience I did and choose to remain in town. We have been consistently ranked nationally as a top community because of our fiscal responsibility and our commitment to investing in our priorities and our future. Our residents and businesses continue to invest and reinvest in our community.

Anything else you would like to share? I have served for over a decade on the Town Council. My reward for that service is the simple ability to talk to people every day who tell me how much they love West Hartford, just as I do. But I know that’s not just due to my work, it’s thanks to our Council and Board of Education’s record, and the excellence and professionalism exhibited by our town employees and all of the educators and professionals that work in our school system. And it’s thanks to you, our residents who remain involved and informed. I hope that, together, we can keep that progress going for the next two years.

My administration prides itself on having been responsive and responsible to our constituents, engaged in civil and productive debates around the important decisions we have made as a council, and creative and innovative in order to maintain the reputation that made us one of the top fifty cities in the United States according to Money Magazine.

But we need you to get involved and we need you to VOTE! So don’t forget to exercise your civic responsibility and cast your ballot on November 5th.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me with a question, comment, or concern about our town – I want to hear from you. Thank you in advance for your support.

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We-Ha

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