ELECTION 2021: Meet the Candidate — Keith Denning, Board of Selectmen

Bio

Keith Denning and his wife moved to Wilton in 2017. He brings a strong history of service both locally and globally. In 2021, Keith was appointed as an alternate to the Zoning Board of Appeals.

Keith has been a practicing Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist for the past 38 years. working initially as a staff anesthetist in hospitals in Missouri and Ohio and then as the Chief Anesthetist at two surgical hospitals in Cincinnati.

Keith has served on medical missions throughout the world, first working with Operation Smile and then with PCRF, a medical organization that works throughout the Middle East. Keith has volunteered for many organizations working to find solutions for healthcare and housing needs as well as helping to relocate refugees.

Op-Ed

I’m Keith Denning and I am running for the Wilton Board of Selectmen. My wife and I moved to Wilton in 2017 from the midwest to be closer to my son and his family. We were attracted to Wilton because of its natural beauty as well as being ideally located close to two train stations and major highways. But I have come to see living here as much more.

My life has been one of service both in my profession and as a volunteer.

Professionally for 40 years, my life has been dedicated to the practice of nursing, specifically as a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist. Along the way, I was also a clinical educator with the University of Cincinnati School of Nurse Anesthesia and a Chief Anesthetist of a surgical hospital. Here in Connecticut, I served as a member of the Connecticut State Board of Nurse Anesthetists.

Operation Smile has been a big part of my life as I traveled to Paraguay, Nicaragua, Cambodia, and Russia to provide anesthesia to children. I was also a member of an American medical program that provided surgical services to the people in the West Bank.

Most recently, I have been directly involved in caring for those in the hospital who have contracted the COVID virus. I have seen patients who were gravely ill with the virus. Several times, I was the last person they saw before they passed.

In my prior community service, I worked with the Archdiocese of Cincinnati Catholic Social Justice Commission, where I served as the chairman for two years. We worked with the parishes in the archdiocese and the city of Cincinnati to maintain the collaborative agreement with the city of Cincinnati and the police department. It was an effort to bring people together to find common solutions. During this time, my wife and I also volunteered to help relocate Bosnian refugees to Cincinnati.

When I moved to Wilton, I quickly became aware that zoning and land use issues are very important to the present and future of Wilton. Through my involvement with the Wilton Democratic Town Committee, I was nominated and appointed to the Zoning Board of Appeals. This position has proven to be a great place to learn about the town. Many Wilton residents have shared with me their desire for both a more robust town center and for more diverse housing opportunities. Many town residents feel the need to downsize but prefer to stay in Wilton where they have established relationships. Many young people cannot find homes they can afford with their beginning salaries. I have gained a strong understanding of our current zoning laws, which helps me appreciate how decisions are made. My past experience in Wilton has led me to believe that it is important to build better relationships with business owners and developers in order to give Wilton a better chance to grow and prosper.

As a selectman, I would hope to be able to work on several issues. First, Wilton seniors now represent 17% of the population. I believe Wilton can do a better job in providing a quality of life that our seniors deserve. I believe there are many ways that we can accomplish this.

Wilton has long been a leader in making the environment green. We can and should be a model of a community that is working to reduce greenhouse gases. We must continue to prepare the Town for climate change.

I want to work with the other selectmen to bring the vision of the 2019 Plan of Conservation and Development into fruition as well as to implement the Master Plan currently in development. I believe it is a priority to maintain our town buildings: Town Hall, our police station and fire department structures. I understand the needs of the emergency services. I believe I understand what the town requires to remain healthy and safe during this pandemic. I know the Town must keep its budget tight and manage the taxpayers’ money well. I believe in fiscal responsibility.

I bring to the Board of Selectmen a strong history of personal and community service. I think my experience and skills would bring a fresh and unique perspective to the Board. I believe I have the ability and the critical thinking skills that will serve the town well and help to grow the town in a direction we can all be proud.