Meet Melissa Kane!
How old are your kids, and how long have you lived in Westport? My son George is 18, graduated in June from Staples and just started college at Santa Clara University. My daughter Lily is 15, a sophomore at Staples, and an avid gymnast and Staples Varsity Cheerleader. My husband John and I have lived in Westport with our kids, 2 dogs, and a cat for 15 years.
What ultimately brought you to Westport? I went to The Dalton School in New York City, but grew up spending summers in Westport; my mom is an artist and she and my dad moved here when I was a bit older; my dad is actually 85 and still commuting to the city! It was always a dream to spend summers here, and I especially remember spending the last night of every summer at the Cobb’s Mill Inn. When my husband got a job in Darien, it just seemed like the timing was finally right!
What did you do before you got involved in politics? All my life, I have been a writer. Early on, I did development work for a lot of organizations with a primary focus on donor solicitations. I also did a lot of writing for Women.com and HomeArts.com- Hearst’s first digital property. I’ve done food and entertainment writing, ran an online cooking school, and combined my passion for writing with my love for all things home. For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved entertaining and cooking and flowers and design. I always did the flowers for my friends’ weddings, and finally opened my own floral business – MKK Designs. It was 99% event driven, including private dinner parties, weddings, and home decor. I worked from home and for awhile all was great, but the job was taxing, and I knew the burn rate was high.
Early on in my time in Westport, I was on the board at the Child’s Place preschool and ran their major fundraising events. I did all of the decorating and party planning, and met so many great people. At one point, I had to present to the Board of Finance about renewing the lease for the school’s building, and realized how much I enjoyed the process. I was also involved in The Westport Young Women’s League and the Friends of the Library, and then sat on the Board of the Library. From everything I was doing, I was getting more involved in advocacy, albeit unintentionally in some ways. After awhile, there was an opening in District 3 for an RTM representative, so I ran for it and won.
What made you ultimately decide to run for First Selectwoman? I think Westport needs a leader who is actually going to advocate for all of the things that are important for the town. I also think this is one of the first times people are really starting to recognize the importance of voting at the local level. I have been very involved in the task force and the budget for years, and truthfully – it just felt like the right time. The political climate is also very appropriate for me; I am very involved with the activist groups in Westport and led the group who went to the Women’s march on Washington. Working in the town has always been non-partisan for me, and in the end, I hope (and believe) I can help connect people and bring them together.
What is your favorite family activity to do in Westport or the surrounding towns? Go to Carvel; I get vanilla chocolate swirl with the big pieces of confetti. Every single birthday as a kid I got Fudgie the Whale cake and continue this tradition with my own kids. I also always do picnics at the beach in the summer with our friends. When our kids were younger, we used to do a lot of sledding at Winslow Park or at Birchwood.
What was your most memorable family vacation and why? We actually went to Hawaii when our daughter was 2, which was incredible. We also just went to Croatia; we knew how busy summer would be and that George was leaving for college, and were truly touched that our kids wanted to go away with their parents.
What is your proudest mommy moment? My son George ran the Hilary for America phone banks in Westport, which ultimately was the highest calling phone bank in the State. I was incredibly proud of how he ran it; he got really involved, and despite always shying away from it, he understood its importance. My kids also walk our dog together, which warms my heart!
What’s your favorite app right now- for you- and for your kids? I actually love a meditating app – Headspace – when I can find the time, as it really helps me center myself.
What’s your can’t live without beauty product? A tweezer=) and a lighted mirror. And I love skinseuticals – C&E day serum.
What’s your favorite restaurant in town for a family dinner? A night out with friends? I’ve always had Matsu Sushi as a go to lunch place, though I loves Yamafugi too. For family dinners we go to The Spotted Horse a lot or Little Barn. For date night, we always love The Whelk or Ka Wani
What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you? Just one? Perhaps that I got kicked out of my sleep-away camp? Or perhaps that I toured with Peter Gabriel as a publicist? =)
If you had 24 hours to do whatever you wanted – what would you do? I’d spend the day with my best friend in Sarasota, FL and spend our time on the beach picking seashells OR I would go for a hike with my family, and then take a nap!
What would you want to share with our community? I want to talk with everyone and anyone who is willing. The more questions I get, the better prepared I will be to run this town and hopefully make a meaningful impact!