Thomas J. Sevigny
Party, Position Seeking:
Democrat, Board of Selectmen
I grew up in Windsor Locks and entered the Air Force after high school graduation. After serving four years I began working as an emergency dispatcher for the Town of Farmington where I am still employed. While working I earned my B.A. in History from Trinity College, graduating Phi Beta Kappa in 1995. In 2009 I earned a Masters in History from Trinity. I have lived in Canton for 17 years.
I am married to Jennifer and have three beautiful children: Abbey, Eli and Hannah.
Other Relevant Experience, Community Service:
Founder of the Collinsville Farmers Market. Former member of the Canton Energy Task Force. Board member of Canton Advocates for Responsible Expansion (C.A.R.E.) and People's Action for Clean Energy (PACE).
Why are you running for office?
Simply put, I have grown increasingly frustrated with the lack of direction of the town. Canton is a business without a business plan. We have no economic development plan. No energy plan. No infrastructure plan. Even the plan we do have, the Plan of Conservation and Development (POCD), has yet to be implemented. Instead of creating and implementing a community vision that defines our unique qualities and resources and where we want to be 10 or 15 years from now, we have continued to drive into the future with blinders on.
What skills do you have that you could bring to the community?
As a certified charrette planner from the National Charrette Institute, I am familiar with the latest methods of how to bring diverse viewpoints and multiple stakeholders together to reach consensus on a feasible plan for our town. As a historian, I am comfortable doing research and understand the importance of looking at issues from all angles. Also, as a board member of CARE and PACE, I can bring new ideas regarding land use, economic development, and alternative energy sources to the Board of Selectmen.
If elected, what would be your primary areas of focus?
My primary focus would be the creation of a comprehensive, strategic plan for the Town of Canton. We must take a proactive, holistic approach to the issues and problems faced by our town. A vision and implementation plan, created by actively engaging all of our town's citizens, that protects what we love about Canton while maximizing our tax base, can be achieved. Research shows that communities that plan early and for the long term, that include diverse viewpoints in the problem-solving process, that create a vision of what could be, and finally, take collective action to implement that vision, get better results. As our experience with the POCD illustrates, implementation is the key. Any plan that simply sits on a shelf is useless and a waste of money. Any plan must have benchmarks and timelines that allow citizens to measure the performance of their elected officials and ensure that government is effective and efficient.
Name something the town has done well over the past four years.
The town has finally begun to realize the importance of protecting open space over the last few years. The economic, ecological, and environmental benefits of open space must continue to be pursued.
What is something the town could have done better during the past four years?
In 2003, Canton spent $80,000 on a new Plan of Conservation and Development. This plan contained 75 different recommendations. As of today, only 5 of those recommendations have been implemented. This lack of implementation and planning, not only in the area of land use but in other areas as well, only ensures that issues will remain disconnected — economic development here, traffic concerns there, infrastructure problems over there — citizens will continue to feel increasingly powerless, and town officials will continues to be reactive instead of proactive as they go from crises to crises. We can and must do better.