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Meet the Candidate: Shari Cantor

Shari Cantor. Courtesy photo

We-Ha.com is offering our readers the opportunity to meet the candidates running in the Nov. 2, 2021 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 2021 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. 2.

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: 61

Party, position seeking: Democrat, 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 36 years. We have four sons and a daughter-in-law: Josh and Theresa, Sam, Ben, and Jacob. All of our sons are graduates from West Hartford Public Schools.

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 five years as Mayor of West Hartford. Beyond that responsibility, I am Chair of the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center Foundation Board, and a member of the University of Connecticut Board of Trustees, 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 UConn Business 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 am running to continue our town’s success. West Hartford has become a top-ranked community nationally, a place that is known for being welcoming, inclusive and diverse. I’ve been proud to lead our community through the unprecedented challenges of a pandemic with a focus on responsive local government. It will take strategic and thoughtful leadership to ensure West Hartford continues to thrive, and I am excited to help our community stay on this path to recovery.

What issue(s) are your primary area of focus? In my next term as Mayor, I will continue to:

Safeguard our nationally ranked public schools by preserving funding so that every child in West Hartford has the very best opportunities to succeed;

Preserve West Hartford’s Triple-A bond rating and build on recent successful financial efforts to save our residents millions of dollars by fully funding our public pensions in a responsible way; and

Keep our community safe by ensuring our community and law enforcement officers are working together and communicating regularly.

To further these goals, it’s critical that West Hartford has leadership that knows how to be innovative and how to make investments in our future. We have a vibrant, diverse, and inclusive community — it needs to be celebrated and treasured so that we remain one of the best places to live in the country.

What do you feel is the biggest issue facing West Hartford today, and how do you plan to address it if elected? West Hartford is a wonderful community and this is not by chance. But like every community, we have many issues facing us – some known, and others we can’t yet predict. This is why the right leadership is so important.

I believe the biggest issue facing West Hartford today is continuing our response and recovery from this historic pandemic, which has now presented unimaginable challenges, but also the opportunity to come out stronger on the other side.

I am so proud of the generosity, support and caring demonstrated by our community throughout this past year and a half. Many of the challenges that we have seen existed before the pandemic, but were exacerbated in recent months; this includes: accessible and affordable healthcare, food and nutrition, preschool and child care, transportation options and housing options.

I am proud of our leadership on these issues. We’ve been creative and responsive by providing food, health screenings and vaccinations, and assistance for homebound residents. We’ve bolstered efforts to provide preschool and childcare for families with qualifying incomes, and to provide housing opportunities for all income, ages and abilities. And we’ve pushed for a train station, more bus connectivity, and changes that will make West Hartford more bicycle friendly. This is all important progress, and there is even more we can and will do to make us a healthier, more vibrant and welcoming community.

What do you feel differentiates you from other candidates also running for this position? There are many great candidates for public office in West Hartford this year, and I commend them for their commitment to public service. For my part, I believe the leadership I have demonstrated as West Hartford’s Mayor these past five years has given me the experience and tools to set me apart as a candidate. I have invested in our town’s schools, businesses, and public safety every year as our Mayor. I’ve taken on the challenges of the past year and ensured that local government has been responsive and efficient in helping our communities and businesses rebound from the pandemic. As we move forward, I will continue to lift up everyone in West Hartford while maintaining our high quality of life.

Anything else you would like to share? I’m proud of my record as West Hartford’s Mayor, but I also know that our success is not just due to my work, it’s thanks to our Council and our 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. I ask all of West Hartford’s residents to get out and exercise their civic responsibility by voting on November 2nd!

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