PROSPECT — Mayor Robert Chatfield will be running for his 18th term in office unopposed, at least for now.
The Prospect Republican Town Committee endorsed Chatfield and a full slate of candidates at its caucus Tuesday night, while Democrats didn’t fill several key positions.
“I think that over the years [the Democrats have] come to realize that Bob is always a tough opponent. … This year because the town is in such solid shape and we were still able to reduce taxes, they must’ve considered Bob as unbeatable,” Republican Town Committee Chair Tom Galvin said.
Democrats have until Sept. 10 to find someone willing to run for mayor.
“I want to thank the Republican Town Committee for their confidence in me,” Chatfield said.
He said he didn’t want to comment on the possibility that there will be no Democratic candidate since the spot could still be filled.
“This is not going to change our campaign strategy at all,” Chatfield said, promising to campaign door-to-door on nights and weekends, as he has in the past.
“You can’t get too big for your britches,” he said.
When he announced his candidacy June 14, Chatfield said his longevity allows him time to plan and follow projects through.
Among his accomplishments since he was first elected in 1977, Chatfield named the budget cuts he was able to make this year to reduce taxes, even as other towns struggled to keep their tax raises to a minimum.
Other achievements Chatfield cited were expanding Hotchkiss Field, building Caplan Park, building a new library and senior center, and buying property to preserve open space.
He said he brought water to Prospect through $8 million in grants and installed hundreds of catch basins around the town.
Chatfield said he works for the town 24/7 and is the only mayor in the state who is at their respective Town Hall at 5 a.m. every day.
Chatfield said his extensive knowledge of the town means he can quickly accomplish tasks without having to do as much research as newer leaders in other towns, saving taxpayers money.
If re-elected, Chatfield said he would like to see the completion of improvements to Hotchkiss Field and use a grant to put another garage behind the existing town garage. He said he would like to expand the senior center, and continue purchasing open space for the town.
Chatfield said he was honored that the rest of his ticket chose to serve the town. He said it is hard to find people who want to put their time and effort into public service.
With no mayoral opponent, Galvin said voter apathy may play a big role in the election.
“The under tickets still have to stand on their own,” Galvin said.
The rest of the Republican slate is filled with incumbents, with one exception. Republicans recently appointed Nazih Noujaim to fill the Board of Education seat left vacant by former Chair Lisa DeGoes, who resigned to move with her husband to the Netherlands. Noujaim will run to keep his seat for a two-year term.
“I think he will bring to it the same dedication and spirit that Lisa DeGoes brought to the position,” Galvin said.
Noujaim said he accepted his nomination to keep supporting the youth and prepare children to become leaders of the future.
“It’s very critical that we’re able to provide them the support they need and at the same time keep an eye on the cost for our taxpayers,” Noujaim said.
With three children at each level of the school system, Noujaim said he understands the issues facing students and has a lot of contact with teachers.
He said he will bring his professional experience to the board. Noujaim has worked in software at 3M in Wallingford for 22 years and part-time at Buzzutos Inc. in Cheshire for 24 years. He is also an insurance salesman.
Noujaim has been an alternate on the Zoning Board of Appeals for over two years, but his seat on the school board will be his first elected position if he’s voted in this November.
Galvin wrote that the other 16 party-endorsed candidates are a critical part of Team Chatfield.
“They present with an enviable blend of proven experience and insightful new approaches to address the growing challenges that living in Connecticut thrusts upon all of us. These folks are your friends and neighbors who through their hard work have managed to reduce your local taxes while maintaining the quality of life that we all enjoy in Prospect,” Galvin wrote.
Galvin, who is currently Town Council Chair, will be running for his third term on the council. He also served on the Planning and Zoning Committee for seven years. He said he is dedicated to the town.
“The council has a lot of responsibility in making sure the town is run well,” Galvin said.
He said he will be running on his record and experience.
Chatfield isn’t the only Republican candidate with a long history of public service in Prospect. Incumbent Town Council member Douglas Merriman has been with him every step of the way. He is running for his 14th term on the council. He also served one term on the Board of Education in 1977.
Merriman carries with him his mother’s legacy. She was the first woman elected to Town Council.
“It’s just a family tradition to respond to the needs of the citizens,” Merriman said.
He said his proudest moment was when he was chairman of the Town Council for 10 years. During that time, Prospect successfully built a new fire house, Merriman said.
If reelected, Merriman said he hopes to get single stream recycling for Prospect, so that residents will be able to put all recyclables in one large container, increasing the recycling rate. Merriman is member of Bristol Resource Recovery Operating Committee tasked with increasing recycling in member towns.
“I want to continue to strive to spend people’s tax money frugally under the mayor’s guidance,” Merriman said.
The Republicans also endorsed Carrie Anderson for town clerk; David Young for town treasurer; Diane Lauber for tax collector; Robert Doyon, Douglas Merriman, Stanley Pilat, and Jeffrey Slapikas for Town Council; Jack Crumb for Planning and Zoning Commission; Marianne Byrne and Charles Witkowski for Zoning Board of Appeals; Marie Kluge and Lisa Mason for Board of Assessment Appeals; Donna Cullen and David Wartko for Board of Education (four year term).
Other candidates could not be reached for comment as of this post.
Mayor: Robert Chatfield
Town Clerk: Carrie Anderson
Town Treasurer: David Young
Tax Collector: Diane M. Lauber
Town Council: Robert Doyon, Thomas Galvin, Douglas Merriman, Stanley Pilat, Jeffrey Slapikas
Planning and Zoning Commission: Jack L. Crumb
Zoning Board of Appeals: Marianne W. Byrne, Charles M. Witkowski
Board of Assessment Appeals: Marie J. Kluge, Lisa E. Mason
Board of Education (four year term): Donna M. Cullen, David T. Wartko
Board of Education (two year term): Nazih G. Noujaim