PROSPECT — Democrat Theresa Graveline stood before a large crowd of supporters Tuesday night promising to begin the next chapter in Prospect’s history.
“I feel the time is right for the Town of Prospect to move to the next level. We need to modernize our government processes and establish policies to promote efficiency, cost savings and a business climate that will enhance economic growth and development,” said Graveline as she officially announced her candidacy for mayor at Senor Pancho’s. “Make no mistake, I very much cherish the small-town identity of Prospect and have no interest at all in developing a metropolis. But I do firmly believe we must expand our tax base with well-planned commercial and clean and green industrial additions to our grand list. It’s the only way we will be able to reduce the burden of taxes on the residential homeowners and enhance programs for our citizens.”
Graveline, 56, has served on the Town Council the last 22 years. She is seeking to unseat Republican Mayor Robert Chatfield, who has been in office since 1977. Chatfield has announced his intentions to seek re-election.
Graveline said her experience serving the community on the council, and in other ways, will help her as mayor.
“Prospect has a long history and an engaging story of a town whose citizens take great pride in our Yankee ingenuity, thriftiness, strong family values and community spirit. My history, my story, is that of a lifelong community servant who is committed to those same values and has served with integrity for more than 20 years,” Graveline said.
Graveline has worked as a nurse, a business woman, and currently works as a finance manager for a small finance company. She believes her experience in those fields will serve her well as mayor.
“Though I don’t believe a town should be run in exactly the same way as a business, I do believe that our town government can be well served by implementing some prudent business practices, checks and balances, human resource initiatives and management policies,” Graveline said.
Graveline said if elected mayor one of her main focuses would be helping residents over 50 years old, who make up more than 35 percent of the town’s population.
“Elder concerns are important to me. I would like to initiate a focus group to explore possibilities of relief programs and elder housing. It makes good sense, morally and financially, to find ways to keep our seniors in town. After all, they have supported this town for many decades,” Graveline said.
Graveline said she also wants to ensure the town has fiscal policies and an education system that attracts younger families as well.
“We need the younger generations too, to sustain our town into the future,” Graveline said.
Town Council member Patricia Geary, a Democrat, said Graveline is the right choice for mayor.
“Not only is she an intelligent person and an experienced businesswoman, but she has real vision for the future of Prospect. She is very proactive and a real consensus builder. She listens to others and encourages people’s ideas and involvement. … Her 20 plus years on the Town Council and its subcommittees have given her the knowledge and experience to ensure that she will be a knowledgeable and effective mayor as the next chapter in Prospect’s history begins,” Geary said.
Democratic Town Committee Chairwoman Eileen Cranney called Graveline’s candidacy a turning point for the Democratic Party.
“You have somebody here with 22 years of extraordinary experience in the town. She’s sharp on all the issues with a good business background. She’s the right person at the right time,” Cranney said.
Graveline said that all the candidates on the Democratic ticket will work together for the betterment of Prospect.
“We are all committed to sustaining and enhancing the quality and affordability of life in Prospect, as well as channeling progress for positive outcomes, so that we will continue to thrive in our small town community where our elders will stay and younger generations will choose to live,” Graveline said. “Together, our team will take Prospect to the next level, and make our town even better. In doing so, we will write the next great chapter of Prospect’s future.”
The Democratic Town Committee is scheduled to endorse candidates for the November election at a caucus July 21.