PROSPECT — Louis Mirabelle wasn’t considering jumping into the political fray this year. However, after a petition effort was started by some candidates, the 23-year-old registered Democrat decided to jump into the race for mayor.
Mirabelle, a political newcomer, is running for mayor as a third party candidate. He is running against longtime incumbent Republican Robert Chatfield and Democrat Louis Booth.
Mirabelle said he thought petitioning to get on the ballot was a good opportunity for him, as a younger candidate, to run for office.
“I thought why not, someone my age go out and show that they really care about our future, and they care about the town. I really wanted people to see that,” Mirabelle said.
Since then Mirabelle has been trying to let residents know that he is serious about running.
Mirabelle sees taxes as the biggest issue currently facing residents.
“I don’t want any more increases in taxes. I think our residents pay way too much for taxes,” Mirabelle said.
In addition to paying too much, Mirabelle is concerned that residents are not getting their dollar’s worth from their taxes. Mirabelle said he would like to look into putting nature trails, bike trails and more sidewalks into the town.
“I feel like that there’s not a lot that the residents are getting for their taxes. What do they really get? We need to step back and look at this and see what we can do to give back to the citizens more,” Mirabelle said.
Mirabelle is concerned that the town, as things stand now, is not doing enough to convince the upcoming generation that Prospect is a good place to live, work and raise a family.
“People just go to college when they turn 18 or 19 and that’s it. They go to college and they don’t worry about their town for four or five years when they’re away, then they come back and they think about moving away. They don’t want to stay. They don’t see Prospect as a place to grow a family in. They want to go somewhere else,” Mirabelle said.
Mirabelle said lowering taxes and giving residents more for their tax dollars will lead to more residents staying in Prospect.
“I think we really need to find a way to give back, make people feel like Prospect is our home. It’s not just a place we’re living at,” Mirabelle said.
Mirabelle graduated from Woodland Regional High School in 2007 and went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in real estate from University of Connecticut in 2011. Mirabelle enrolled in culinary school shortly after graduating from UConn in order to help out at Dom’s Brickhouse, a restaurant owned by his family. He graduated in 2012 from Lincoln Culinary Institute in Hartford as a certified chef and in April 2013 he graduated from the Italian Culinary Institute in Italy.
Mirabelle said his experience in both school and working in his family’s restaurant has helped prepare him for being mayor.
“I spend every day in a kitchen trying to work with spending money but keeping my costs low and keeping my customers happy at the same time, and keeping that high quality,” Mirabelle said.
Mirabelle said that he would like to break the town’s budget down to be able to see what the most and least important parts of it are and if there are portions of the budget that can be cut.
“We need to look at the budgets a lot more, look at what we’re spending on now,” Mirabelle said. “All these unnecessary things we don’t need to be spending money on. I think that the whole town needs to look at these things, not just the mayor, not just the Town Council, or the committees. I think the whole town needs to be aware of where their money is going.”
Mirabelle said in addition to having experience with finances, he would bring a new perspective to the town since the current administration has been in power for 18 terms.
“It’s not that they didn’t do a good job. They’ve been there for so long though and people get comfortable, and when you’re comfortable mistakes can happen. It’s with anything. If you are stuck on a math problem for three weeks the same eyes just can’t figure it out, but when you ask for that new pair of eyes to come in they can figure it out in literally 30 seconds. Just like that. So, I think we need that change,” Mirabelle said.
Mirabelle said that he is running for the good of Prospect.
“When I say for the good of Prospect I really feel like the residents aren’t being spoken for enough. I feel like decisions are being made without their knowledge. I feel like they’re not being allowed to be involved as much as they should be,” Mirabelle said. “It’s tough to get the word to 9,400 people when not everybody is around. People are working out of the town. But if we can get the people more connected, everybody is more connected in this town, and get these taxes lower I really think that make the people have more money in their pockets and just improve the quality of life in the town.”