The Jackson County Clerk’s office opened at 8 a.m. Wednesday.
Less than five minutes
later, six men were in
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line to file declaration
of candidacy forms for
municipal offices in Seymour and Brownstown.
The line included the mayor of Seymour, a two-term city councilman, three one-term members of the Brownstown Town Council and one political newcomer.
Matt Nicholson of Seymour is seeking the District 3 council seat for the first time, but he said it’s something he’s considered before.
“I thought about it four years ago,” the 37-year-old Republican said. “I thought I was too young. I’m ready to try it now.”
Nicholson said being a city councilman would be an extension of his work with the city in the past, which includes working with committees to help establish a skate park and creating bike paths and trails in the city.
“It’s time to take the next step,” he said.
The District 3 council seat is held by Danny Sloan, a Republican, who was picked by a caucus when Andy Hage-dorn resigned after moving out of the city.
The filing period for the May 5 primary will continue through noon Feb. 6.
The other Seymour candidates filing early Wednesday were Mayor Craig Luedeman and Democrat John “J.J.” Reinhart, who recently announced his retirement from the city’s airport.
Reinhart, who also served as Seymour’s police chief, will seek a third term representing District 1 on the city council.
“I think we’ve come a long ways, but I would like to see us make some more progress,” Reinhart said.
One of the projects he wants to see completed is the widening of Second Street on the west side of the city. Bids for the first phase of that work will be sought this spring.
A second project would be the extension of Burkart Boulevard south from Tipton Street on the east side of the city and then west toward Freeman Field. Reinhart said that extension would open up new areas of the city to residential and possible commercial development.
He said he also would like to take a good look at updating current zoning regulations.
Three of the four Republicans serving on the Brownstown council — John Nolting (Ward 1), Ben Lewis (Ward 2) and C.J. Foster (Ward 3) — also joined the parade of candidates. Those three, along with Dustin Steward (Ward 5), were elected four years ago and are finishing out their first terms. Steward has said he does not intend to run again.
The fifth Brownstown council member is Democrat Bill Sweeney, who filed later in the day. He is wrapping up his fifth consecutive four-year term representing Ward 4.
Both Nolting and Foster said there are important infrastructure projects in town that need to begin.
“I think it all caught us off guard,” Nolting said of a recent sanitary sewer study, which shows the town needs to repair its aging system. That work has a price tag of about $4 million.
Foster said the study, including videotaping of sanitary lines, shows there are problem areas where lines could collapse and cause some serious issues.
“We’ve been lucky,” he said.
Foster said he is seeking a second term in order to see the council’s efforts to modernize the town continue.
That includes putting zoning in place for the first time — a project that should be completed later this year — and installing more handicapped-accessible sidewalks, especially near the middle school, he said.
Nolting said he wants to continue the council’s work with a newly established committee that’s looking at finding a use for the former feed mill site in the 100 block of East Walnut Street.
The town received a grant this past year to demolish the two buildings, but the town must maintain ownership of the property for seven years or repay some of the grant money.
Other candidates filing later Wednesday were Sally Cate Lawson, a Republican, seeking Steward’s seat in Brownstown; Republican Jim Rebber, who is running for a sixth term as District 4 Seymour City Council member; Republican Brian “Bubba” D’Arco, who is seeking a second term representing Seymour Council District 2; and Democrat Betty M. Campbell, who is seeking another term as Medora clerk-treasurer.
The filing period ends at noon Feb. 6.
The filing period for the May 5 municipal primary began Wednesday and ends at noon Feb. 6. To file a declaration of candidacy, visit the Jackson County Clerk’s Office at the courthouse in Brownstown. For information, call 812-358-6120.