PROSPECT — Political newcomer and Democratic mayoral candidate Louis Booth is aiming big for his first venture into politics.
“Basically it was presented to me that nobody else was willing to run, which brought the issue to my attention. Then, when I realized there was an opportunity for me to get involved in the local politics, I thought it would be a great opportunity to help other youth, people my age, get involved, because they’re going to become our future,” said the 23-year-old Booth about running for mayor.
Booth is running against longtime incumbent Republican Robert Chatfield and petitioning candidate Louis Mirabelle.
Though people have questioned whether someone his age can run the town as mayor, Booth said, being young also has its advantages.
“I feel like it’s a double-edged sword. Because I am so young I have a lot of opportunity to grow into the position, a lot of longevity that some older people being elected don’t have,” Booth said.
Booth, a Prospect native and 2007 graduate of Woodland Regional High School, is currently working to attain his associate’s degree in general studies from Naugatuck Valley Community College. Booth, who is his final semester, said his degree includes a focus on political and social sciences.
Although he would not finish his schoolwork until a month after he took office if elected, Booth doesn’t believe working as mayor would conflict with his class schedule.
“I’m sure I could devote enough time to both where it wouldn’t be a problem,” Booth said.
Booth said he is currently unemployed but is putting his time to use for his campaign.
“I figured the extra time not working will give me time to focus on campaigning, walking, going door to door,” Booth said.
Booth said if elected he would focus on stabilizing taxes in the town.
“That’s one of my main concerns because the majority of Prospect is middle class. By doing that I hope to take some of the burden off of the citizens and try to spread the tax base more onto businesses,” Booth said.
Booth said he fears that if taxes were to remain high it will cause the next generation to begin seeking other places to live.
“The cost of living for Connecticut is extremely high and I feel like college students who are coming of age, starting their careers, they don’t want to start them in Connecticut because it’s too expensive to live here,” Booth said.
Booth said he would try to lower taxes by working with the town’s Economic Development Committee to create a deliberate-growth plan for the town.
“I feel like if [the committee was] more active it would give the citizens a chance to give their input, which would in turn create an opportunity for everyone to get what they’d like. Personally, I’d like to see smaller businesses come into Prospect, but I’d also like to get the opinion of the citizens,” Booth said.
Booth said he also wants to expand the number of recreational programs the town offers for children. He said people have told him that Cheshire offers high quality sports and recreational programs for its residents and Prospect currently does not have as many options.
“Prospect, people feel, is lacking. I’ve heard people say that if you don’t play soccer you don’t have much opportunity for a lot of programs. I would like to open that up and explore that to see what we can do for the children,” Booth said.
Booth said he would make Town Hall more accessible to residents by changing the hours its open.
“I would also like to extend Town Hall hours to include Saturdays and at least one evening a week to accommodate working citizens. This can be accomplished through a staggering of schedules rather than increasing employee hours, which would avoid increasing the payroll burden,” Booth said.
Booth pointed out that current Republican Mayor Robert Chatfield serves the town in numerous positions, including working with the town’s fire department. Booth said if elected he would prefer to focus on just the role of mayor rather than taking on other positions.
“Through doing so, I will be able to devote more time to facilitating communications between Town Hall and the citizens of Prospect. To me that is the beauty of local politics; due to the relative size of Prospect I will be able to get in touch with a greater percentage of the population,” Booth said.