PROSPECT — For the 20th consecutive election, Prospect voters chose Republican Robert Chatfield to lead them as mayor.
Chatfield received roughly 63 percent of the vote to hold off a strong challenge from Democrat Theresa Cocchiola-Graveline Tuesday at the polls. According to unofficial numbers, Chatfield defeated Cocchiola-Graveline, 2,268 to 1,307.
“On Nov. 7 I start my 39th year,” Chatfield said. “So now I’m going to write my 39th and 40th chapter in my diary.”
Chatfield, 72, who was first elected mayor in 1977 and has held the seat since, attributed his win to hard work, long hours and listening to people. Once the results were in, Chatfield stood in the cafeteria at the former Community School and thanked his family, supporters, members of the Republican ticket and Cocchiola-Graveline.
“I want to thank my opponent, who has probably run the cleanest campaign that has been run against me in a long time,” Chatfield said.
Cocchiola-Graveline, 56, who has served on the Town Council for the past 22 years, said the Democratic campaign team worked with such feverish enthusiasm and commitment that it was hard to believe they didn’t win.
“As sad as that is, the important takeaway from tonight is that we gave them a run for their money,” she said. “We gave people in this town an absolute choice of the way it could possibly be, and I’m very, very proud of that.”
While she wasn’t elected, Cocchiola-Graveline urged every Democrat that was elected to carry that same level of dedication with them over the next two years. Despite being the minority, Cocchiola-Graveline said Democrats can still bring about change and have an impact.
As Chatfield prepares for his 20th term in the Mayor’s Office, he said among his priorities for the next two years will be completing the purchase of Community School from Region 16 in order to turn the building into a community center, and making sure tax incentives for businesses are put in place.
The night belonged to Republicans as every Republican candidate won.
Republicans retained their five to four majority on the Town Council. All five incumbent Republican Town Council members — Jeffrey Slapikas, Alexander Delelle, Douglas Merriman, Stanley Pilat and Thomas Galvin — were re-elected.
Democrat incumbent Town Council members Patricia Geary, Carl Graveline and Carla Perugini-Erickson were re-elected, as well. Democrat Larry Fitzgerald was elected to fill the seat vacated by Cocchiola-Graveline to round out the nine-member council.
Republican incumbent Roxann Vaillancourt and Republican newcomer Daisy Laone were elected to the Region 16 Board of Education, which oversees schools in Beacon Falls and Prospect.
Galvin, who is chairman of the Republican Town Committee, said the Republican victories across the ballot show that people are happy with the way things are in town, especially since about 56 percent of voters cast their ballot on Tuesday.
“The majority of the people voicing their opinion say that things are fine like they are, keep up the good work,” Galvin said. “Bob would probably use his old standby, ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.’ But this says that most people don’t think it’s broken.”
Full election results
* Denotes winners
Theresa Cocchiola-Graveline: 1,307
*Robert J. Chatfield: 2,268
*Larry Fitzgerald: 1,426
*Patricia Sullivan Geary: 1,635
*Carl L. Graveline: 1,326
Donald E. Pomeroy: 1,110
*Carla Perugini-Erickson: 1,449
*Jeffrey B. Slapikas: 2,036
*Alexander A. Delelle: 1,739
*Douglas B. Merriman: 2,154
*Stanley Pilat: 2,107
*Thomas J. Galvin: 2,000
Linda Hennessey: 1,263
*M. Carrie Anderson: 2,174
Michael J. McInerney: 1,246
*David R. Young: 1,943
Elizabeth Bartolucci: 1,036
*Diane M. Lauber: 2,425
Board of Assessment Appeals
Matthew R. Fazo: 1,124
*Peter E. Blinstrubas: 1,402
*Marie J. Kluge: 2,313
*Stephanie Lusas Kolodziej: 1,947
Planning and Zoning Commission
Gregory Ploski: 1,613
*E. Gil Graveline: 1,905
*Kenneth J. Kemp: 1,874
*Jack Crumb: 2,257
Zoning Board of Appeals
Carl J. Montagano: 1,554
*David E. Michaud: 1,601
*Marianne W. Byrne: 2,303
*Scott F. Martin: 2,156
Regional Board of Education
Gena E. Mann: 1,219
Carolyn Witkowski: 1,353
*Daisy Laone: 2,019
*Roxann D. Vaillancourt: 2,084
“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” — It’s my view that the lack of term limits for the the town of Prospect actually shouts BROKEN, and it’s very sad that voters have again relied on this old cliche as a prescription for the town. It seems that Mr. Chatfield has long-since co-opted the mayoral position as if it were his own. That he has seen fit to run for 20 terms, rather than to encourage vibrant political participation, is unfortunate, and it subverts the democratic process. For the position of mayor, Democrat or Republican, a ten to twelve year span is more than enough time to produce meaningful results — then we must make room for new voices, new visions, new contributions. We’re long past due.