Michael P. Peters (1948 – 2009)
Michael P. Peters was born in 1948 and grew up in Hartford’s Italian, working-class southend. His grandfather ran a tailor shop in Hartford, and Peters was raised to be respectful of his fellow citizens and helpful to those around him. After high school, Peters became a fireman and served the city of Hartford in this capacity for 22 years.
In 1993, Peters took on the challenge of running for mayor of Hartford. As a Democrat, he ran against incumbent Carrie Perry in the primary and lost. Unwilling to give up, he ran as an independent in the November election and won. Over the next several years, Peters was seen as Hartford’s greatest cheerleader and friend. His motto, “Go, Hartford” was a reflection of his hopes for the city.
His accomplishments as mayor include reducing crime and drug trafficking in the city, supporting projects that promoted revitalization, developing a child abuse prevention program in the Department of Health, and being named one of the top 10 public officials in the nation in 1996. Peters ran for re-election in 1995, 1997 and 1999 and won by landslides in all three elections. After nearly a decade as mayor, Peters announced he would not run again in 2001.
Following his service as mayor, Peters continued to support the city of Hartford by opening a restaurant downtown. The quaint restaurant, which could easily remind patrons of TV’s Cheers, was appropriately named Mayor Mike’s.
After a long battle with liver disease, Mayor Mike received a liver transplant in September 2008. Less than six months later on January 4, 2009, Peters died at the age of 60. Hundreds of people attended his funeral serving as a reminder of how important Peters was to Hartford and beyond.
Applebome, Peter. “What Hartford Lost when it Lost its Mayor Mike.” New York Times. January 10, 2009. Accessed at http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/11/nyregion/11towns.html on August 30, 2010.
Office of the Mayor. Biography of Mayor Michael P. Peters. February 12, 2000. Accessed at http://www.hartford.gov/News/archives/archivesNewsFromCityHall/PetersBio.htm on August 30, 2010.
Eyewitness News 3. “Former Mayor Mike Peters Dies at 60.” January 4, 2009. Accessed at http://www.wfsb.com/politics/18410517/detail.html on August 30, 2010.