Murphy kicks off statewide tour in Prospect

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Prospect Mayor Robert Chatfield, right, talks about the history of Prospect with U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) on the Town Green Wednesday afternoon. Murphy is planning to visit every town in the state, a tour that started with Prospect. –LUKE MARSHALL
Prospect Mayor Robert Chatfield, right, talks about the history of Prospect with U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) on the Town Green Wednesday afternoon. Murphy is planning to visit every town in the state, a tour that started with Prospect. –LUKE MARSHALL

PROSPECT — U.S. Sen. Christopher Murphy (D-Conn.) is on a whirlwind tour of each town in the state — a tour that started Wednesday in Prospect.

Murphy kicked off his tour of all 169 municipalities in of Connecticut 169 days with a visit to Prospect’s Town Green Wednesday afternoon where he was met by Mayor Robert Chatfield.

“To me this is the best place to be just for the anniversary of the Civil War and the 150th anniversary of Chancellorsville,” Chatfield said. “I’m glad he came.”

Chatfield gave Murphy a lesson on the history of the Green in the shadow of the Civil War monument.

Chatfield explained that, of the three wreaths placed at the foot of the statue on Memorial Day, one of them was to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Civil War’s Battle of Chancellorsville where five Prospect soldiers lost their lives.

“One of the common themes of this tour over the next several months will be my attempt to try to draw some attention to the wonderful history of the small towns of Connecticut, and there’s no better example of the rich, historical tradition of Connecticut small towns than Prospect,” Murphy said.

Chatfield wasn’t the only resident to fill Murphy in on a little Prospect history.

Civil War historian Joseph Gomez presented Murphy with a copy of his book, “Not in Vain: A Story of a Soldier.” The book details the stories of soldiers from Prospect, who fought in the Civil War.

The Green was just one of the historic places Murphy visited during his roughly 45 minute tour of Prospect.

A stop in the Prospect Grange found students gathered for an afterschool program.

One of the children asked Murphy what he liked most about his job. Murphy replied he liked being able to read the newspaper, become angry about an issue, and then be able to go do something about it.

After talking with the children for a few minutes, Murphy walked over to the Prospect Library, where he was greeted by Library Director John Wiehn.

Wiehn led Murphy through the library and pointed out two paintings that depicted the Town Green before many of the current buildings were erected.

Murphy said he plans to take a tour and learn some facts about each of the towns he stops in.

U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), left, honors Shirley Sabo of Prospect for her years of service to the Democratic party Wednesday afternoon on the Town Green. –LUKE MARSHALL
U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), left, honors Shirley Sabo of Prospect for her years of service to the Democratic party Wednesday afternoon on the Town Green. –LUKE MARSHALL

“I wanted to make sure that, in my first year as U.S. Senator that I got to every single town” Murphy said.

Murphy, who lives in Cheshire, said he chose Prospect as his first stop due to its proximity to his hometown.

“I live just down the street. So, it’s funny, I’ve driven through Prospect and stopped at local stores dozens of times, but it was wonderful today to get a really nice historical introduction to a town that is very familiar to me as a next door neighbor,” Murphy said.

Murphy said he has already been through most of the towns in the state as a resident and congressman, but doesn’t think he has seen all of them yet.

“Having spent my whole life in Connecticut and having represented a quarter of the state for six years, I’ve made it to pretty much every nook and cranny once,” Murphy said. “There will probably be a small handful of towns in eastern Connecticut that will be my first visit.”

Learning about the town wasn’t the only way Murphy passed the time in Prospect. Murphy honored Shirley Sabo, wife of Prospect’s first Mayor George Sabo, for her years of dedication and work for the Democratic party.

Sabo has been working for Prospect’s Democratic party since she moved to town nearly 57 years ago. Her late husband was elected mayor in 1975.

Chatfield said when Murphy asked him for someone in Prospect to recognize, Sabo was the first person who came to his mind.
Murphy will continue his tour of the other 168 municipalities around the state as the summer continues. There was no schedule as to when Murphy will visit Naugatuck and Beacon Falls. He said he will sometimes visit two or more municipalities in one day, but that he will get to them all.

“Although I will only be able to spend a short amount of time in some towns I’m visiting, I think, symbolically, it’s important for every corner of the state to know that I’m going to be an active representative for them,” Murphy said.