Republicans back Chatfield for 20th term

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Republican Mayor Robert Chatfield addresses the Prospect Republican Town Committee with his grandson, Zachary Latozas, by his side July 22 after receiving the committee’s endorsement to run for a 20th straight term. –ELIO GUGLIOTTI
Republican Mayor Robert Chatfield addresses the Prospect Republican Town Committee with his grandson, Zachary Latozas, by his side July 22 after receiving the committee’s endorsement to run for a 20th straight term. –ELIO GUGLIOTTI

PROSPECT — The Republican Town Committee last week unanimously endorsed a full slate of candidates for the November election, with Mayor Robert Chatfield once again topping the ticket.

Chatfield, who was first elected mayor in 1977, is seeking his 20th consecutive term in office.

“I don’t look at this as a job; I look at this more as a vocation,” said Chatfield, who turns 72 in August, as he addressed the committee at a July 22 caucus.

Chatfield said he’s proven himself during his time in office, including guiding the town through debilitating storms over the past few years and keeping the town financially stable. He said the town never ran a deficit under his leadership, and the fund balance has been increased to over $800,000 the last two years.

Chatfield added that his experience will allow to town to continue moving forward without missing a beat.

“I’ve made a lot of improvements since 1977. I will continue making improvements on the town,” Chatfield said. “I’ve seen smaller towns around the state that change mayors or selectmen every couple of years, and they are in chaos. I’m not going to need on-the-job training. I’m ready to go.”

Chatfield is facing a challenge from Democrat Theresa Cocchiola-Graveline, who has served on the Town Council for 22 years. Cocchiola-Graveline received the Democratic Town Committee’s endorsement to run for mayor at a caucus July 21.

Republican Town Committee Chairman Tom Galvin, who is also chairman of the Town Council, described Chatfield’s 19 terms in office and is candidacy for a 20th term as “historic.”

“He’s served coincident with six presidents, and we expect it to be with a seventh,” Galvin said.

The remainder of the Republican Town Committee’s slate is all incumbents, with one exception.

The committee endorsed Town Council members Galvin, Alexander Delelle, Douglas Merriman, Stanley Pilat and Jeffrey Slapikas to run for re-election. The council has nine seats and one political party can hold up to five.

Donna Cullen, who is chair of the Region 16 Board of Education, was backed for another term. Daisy Laone, who is the only non-incumbent on the slate, is also running for school board.

The Region 16 Board of Education, which oversees schools in Beacon Falls and Prospect, has four members from each town. Two seats are up for grabs every municipal election in each town.

M. Carrie Anderson was endorsed for town clerk. David Young and Diane Lauber were endorsed for town treasurer and tax collector, respectively.

Marie Kluge and Stephanie Lusas Kolodziej were endorsed for the Board of Assessment Appeals. Candidates for the Zoning Board of Appeals are Marianne Byrne and Charles Witkowski.

Jack Crumb was endorsed for the Planning and Zoning Commission. The committee could have put up two candidates, but only one Republican could have won a seat due to a rule that states no more than three commission members can be from one political party.

Galvin said the slate brings a tremendous amount of experience together with a mix of some new faces, but proven experience.

“We’re just very happy that we have a good solid ticket, and we look forward to, as always in Prospect, an above-the-board, based-on-the-issues election with full transparency for both parties,” Galvin said. “We’re the town on the hill, and we like to keep our politics elevated.”