Pair of independent candidates file for spots on city council

Two independent candidates plan to run for election for seats on the Seymour City Council.

Dave Earley and Shawn Malone both visited the Jackson County Courthouse in Brownstown on Tuesday to pick up petitions. The filing period ends at noon Feb. 6.

Crothersville also picked up its first candidate when Democrat Brenda Holzworth filed to run for an at-large seat on that town’s council.

Since Earley and Malone are running as Independents, both will have to turn in signatures of voters supporting their candidacy before they can officially file, said voter registration clerk CiJi Fleetwood.

Earley plans to run for re-election to a second term representing the District 5 seat. He is currently the first and only independent to serve on the council after being elected in 2011.

“It’s fun, and I enjoy doing it,” he said of serving.

Malone, owner of a local pizza restaurant, is a political newcomer and will be running for one of two at-large seats after filing his petition.

Also seeking at-large seats are Kendra Zumhingst, Dovie Stidham and Darrin Boas, all Republicans and first-time candidates.

Democrat Lloyd Hudson currently holds one of the at-large seats but has not yet filed for re-election. The other seat remains vacant after Jennifer Siefker resigned in October. Republicans will conduct a caucus to fill that seat later this month. Zum-hingst and Boas have filed declaration of candidacies to fill that vacancy.

Malone said he felt like the time was right to run for office.

“The last couple of years, I’ve been a part of boards and committees in town, and they have helped pique my interest in local government,” Malone said.

With friend Brian “Bubba” D’Arco, a Republican, seeking re-election to a second term in District 2, Malone said he felt like it was a good time to try.

“I feel like a lot of our generation are stepping up to the plate,” he said. “It’s our turn, our time to do something.”

Malone said he has no agenda for running and just wants to be a positive influence and help the community.

He doesn’t know what all of the issues are, but he’s excited about learning, he said.

“I think people are concerned with how the city spends its budget, and I think we have a voice in that process,” Malone said. “But a lot of people feel like they don’t have a connection to government, and I can be that connection with this generation.”

Being on the council has helped Earley understand how the city operates and has given him a better appreciation for what city leaders do on a day-to-day basis, he said.

If elected, Earley said he would like to see the council push for property owners to take better care of their homes and businesses.

He also wants to see work continue to improve West Second Street, he added.

“I’m all for change and taking pride in our city,” he said.

Malone said having good opinions and smart business practices from running a successful restaurant makes him want to be the voice of the “regular, common people.”

He credits Mayor Craig Luedeman for encouraging him to run.

“The mayor has opened a lot of doors so that we feel like we should put our hats in the ring,” Malone said. “He invites us to participate, and it doesn’t matter what political party you’re from. He wants us to get involved.”

That doesn’t mean they always see eye to eye, though, Malone said.

“But we can find common ground, and that’s what I’m excited about,” he said.

Other filings so far include Republicans Dave Pollert and Matt Nicholson, both filing for city council District 3. That seat is held by Republican Danny Sloan, who has not yet announced if he will run.

Republican Fred Lewis will seek a seventh term as Seymour clerk-treasurer, and Dave Willey has filed for re-election to a second term as clerk-treasurer in Brownstown. Both are unopposed so far. Medora clerk-treasurer Betty Campbell also has filed to run for a fourth term in office.

Also running unopposed at this time are Republican Mayor Craig Luedeman seeking a third term; Democrat John “J.J.” Reinhart, seeking a third term in city council District 1; and Republican Jim Rebber, seeking a sixth term in District 4.

In Brownstown, town council candidates include incumbent Republicans John Nolting (Ward 1), Ben Lewis (Ward 2) and C.J. Foster (Ward 3) and Democrat Bill Sweeney (Ward 4). Republican Sally Cate Lawson has filed a declaration of candidacy for the Ward 5 seat, which Republican Dustin Steward holds. Steward does not plan to run again.

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January Rutherford is a reporter for The (Seymour) Tribune. She can be reached at jrutherford@tribtown.com or 812-523-7069.