Chatfield seeks 20th term

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Prospect Mayor Robert Chatfield, a Republican, laughs as his grandson, Zach Latozas, shows off his toy truck Tuesday night at Town Hall. Chatfield announced he is running for re-election with his family, including his daughter, Leslie Latozas, right, by his side. –ELIO GUGLIOTTI
Prospect Mayor Robert Chatfield, a Republican, laughs as his grandson, Zach Latozas, shows off his toy truck Tuesday night at Town Hall. Chatfield announced he is running for re-election with his family, including his daughter, Leslie Latozas, right, by his side. –ELIO GUGLIOTTI

PROSPECT — Mayor Robert Chatfield wants to make it 20 consecutive terms in office.

Chatfield, a 71-year-old Republican, announced he is running for re-election Tuesday night surrounded by family, friends and supporters during the Republican Town Committee meeting at Town Hall.

Chatfield, the state’s longest serving mayor, was first elected to office in 1977. He pointed to his years in office as an advantage for the town.

“My tenure is certainly an advantage to the town,” Chatfield said. “Towns that change leadership every couple of years, it takes the new leadership two years to catch up. I don’t have to go through any on-the-job training. I’m well qualified for the job.”

Chatfield said he and the entire Republican ticket will run on their record, adding the town runs like a well-oiled machine. He pointed to the fund balance increasing to over $800,000 over the last two years, which he added shows the hard work of elected officials and town employees.

“Unlike the state we have a surplus, Chatfield said.

After nearly four decades in office, Chatfield said it his love for the town that keeps him running for mayor.

“I don’t want to sound corny, but the love of the town. I’ve grown up here. People have confidence in me. I’d like to think the people that moved into town the last 30 years or so have moved here because they like the way the town has run, and that’s something that I’ve accomplished with the people that have worked with me,” Chatfield said.

Chatfield added there are also some projects he wants to follow through on, including the reconstruction of Scott Road and the purchase of Community School on Center Street.

Community School will close after this school year. The Region 16 school district, which oversees schools in Beacon Falls and Prospect, is preparing to sell the property. The town of Prospect has expressed interest in buying it to use for a number of community activities.

Republican Town Committee Chairman Tom Galvin said the committee is happy to have Chatfield seeking re-election.

“He’s been the mayor longer than some of us have been alive,” Galvin said. “We look forward to his continued leadership.”

Chatfield is likely to face a challenge from a familiar name in November.

Longtime Town Council member Democrat Theresa Cocchiola Graveline, 56, is seeking the Democratic Town Committee’s endorsement to challenge Chatfield. The Republican and Democratic town committees will hold caucuses in July to endorse candidates.

As he approaches his 20th campaign for mayor, Chatfield said every one is different and he takes each one seriously.

“I don’t take anything for granted. I don’t feel as though I’m too big for my britches. I take every election very seriously. I campaign very hard and that’s what I intend on doing now,” Chatfield said.