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  • Today Online

Reflections on bipartisan camaraderie and excellence

Updated: Mar 23, 2023

• Commentary

Robert Bessel is Canton’s First Selectman — this message was first published as a letter to residents on the Canton CT website

By Bob Bessel — Special to Today Magazine

In January, I had the honor of attending the Governor’s State of the State address plus two legislative breakfast events where municipal leaders met with legislative leaders to discuss issues impacting us all.

Everyone was hopeful that our work together will lead to solutions to affordability, housing, transportation, education funding, aggressive driving, EMT pay issues and more.

Yes, it’s early in the session. Yes, we haven’t come face-to-face with fiscal reality. Yes, everyone’s high hopes will come back to earth by session’s end. But there was hope.

Democrats, Republicans and Independents stood in the same room and focused on the same issues. Certainly, we pushed different approaches and highlighted the flaws in someone else’s idea. But at the end of the day, everyone declared their understanding that the issues are best solved by everyone together.

That’s equity. Respect. Willingness to listen. Finding ways to compromise for the common good. It’s more than refreshing. It’s the way to excellence. Because if we shut out the people and experiences that don’t match our own, we shut out the potential for unlikely and sometimes highly successful ways forward.

In a word, excellence.


Is your nonprofit looking for money?

The Canton Greater Together Community Fund is offering grants from $500 to $10,000 for Canton-based nonprofit groups or individuals working under the umbrella of an existing nonprofit as their fiscal agent. Organizations and individuals from the Canton community are encouraged to apply.

Last year, the fund awarded a total of $25,500 in grants to the Collinsville Historical Society, Canton Main Street, the Cherry Brook Garden Club, Canton Land Conservation Trust, Canton Youth Soccer Association, Friends of Canton Public Libraries and SpiritHorse Therapeutic Riding Center of Canton.

The deadline to apply is March 15 at 5 p.m. Awards will be announced in early June.

• Info and applications —

• Grants also offered for other Valley and Greater Hartford towns — deadlines vary — more info +

A longtime Canton resident, Bob Bessel was elected Canton’s First Selectman in November 2019 — before that, he served as chair of the town’s Economic Development Agency — for the record, he’s a Democrat

• Today Magazine covers the heart of Connecticut's Farmington Valley — Avon, Canton, Farmington, Granby and Simsbury

• Related Today Commentary by Bessel:

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