Republican trio seeking District 3 city council nomination

Three Republicans are seeking their party’s nomination for the Seymour City Council District 3 seat in the May 5 primary.

Kurt Newkirk, Matt Nicholson and David Pollert are political newcomers who all said they have an interest in doing more for the community.

The Democratic Party has not yet fielded a candidate for the seat for the November general election. The party has until the end of June to do so through a caucus, said Jackson County voter registration clerk CiJi Fleetwood.

The District 3 seat currently is held by Republican Danny Sloan, who decided not to seek re-election.

The city faces many issues, including growth, health insurance costs, condition of roads and others.

When it comes to making room for growth in the city, Pollert said, he supports annexation but only if it’s not too much of a financial burden on the city’s budget.

“The costs at this time may be prohibitive when you consider the services such as trash pickup, sewer lines and police and fire protection,” he said.

The city council recently dismissed a plan to annex three areas into the city because of anticipated costs.

Newkirk said he believes council made the right decision at this time.

“I am sure more discussion on the issue will be needed though,” he said.

Nicholson said he also would support annexation only after careful study and if it makes sense for the city.

With the city spending much of its budget to pay for health insurance for its employees, Mayor Craig Luedeman has said something must be done to lower those costs.

Pollert said, with recent changes to health care laws, the issue has become difficult for employers and employees to navigate.

“For the time being, all options need to be on the table,” he said.

That could include eliminating health insurance for spouses or retirees or having employees pay more for the benefit.

Nicholson said he believes the city should continue to offer health insurance, but he would need more information on ways to cut costs.

“The employees may need to pick up a different portion than they currently do,” he said.

Newkirk said he supports the idea of offering a health care clinic for employees. Such clinics are already in place for Seymour Community School Corp., Seymour Tubing and Aisin USA.

“Many companies are going to health care clinics that can provide affordable care for their employees and their families,” he said.

Another issue the city must continue to address is the condition of its roads. Luedeman said the city needs to find more money to invest in maintaining infrastructure.

Nicholson said road funding should not be on a wish list.

“Roads need to be a priority,” Nicholson said. “We need to improve road quality; and if more funding is required to do it, then we must find the funds.”

As a resident, Newkirk said he expects to have well-maintained streets to drive on, whether it’s a main street or a side street.

“The most heavily traveled streets will most likely need the most repair,” he said.

Pollert agreed road repairs are always needed, especially after the winter, and those roads in the worst condition and that are most traveled should be fixed first.

“There may be options out there where grants could be applied for to repair roads,” he said.

Newkirk, a longtime custodian for Seymour Community Schools, said running for office is something he’s thought about for some time now. He would like the opportunity to work “as a team” with other city leaders and residents to grow and expand the city, he said.

Having been involved with the development of the city’s skate park, Nicholson, a small-business owner and director of the local literacy coalition, said he is ready to get more involved in other projects and initiatives to benefit Seymour.

“It is time for my generation to step forward and take on leadership roles,” he said. “I have a desire to see Seymour become a place my kids want to stay and raise a family of their own.”

Pollert said his decision to run for office stems from wanting to give back to the community.

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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.