In a 39-33 vote, a political newcomer won Friday’s town convention for the Brownstown Town Council Ward 3 seat.
Republican Matt Smith will join the council in January. He defeated Republican incumbent C.J. Foster, who has served on the council since 2012. Foster will continue to represent Ward 3 until the end of the year.
“I was pleased,” Smith, 39, said. “He’s a neighbor of mine, and I like C.J., so it was bittersweet in that regard, knowing that he has done a great job.”
The Jackson County Republican Party conducted the two-hour convention at the Jackson County Courthouse.
Those with Republican voting history were eligible to vote, and those who were unidentified or had Democratic voting history could vote after signing an affidavit declaring support for the GOP and being approved by the GOP county leader, Jackson County Clerk Amanda Lowery said.
Of the 72 people who voted, 25 filled out an affidavit, Lowery said.
Both Smith and Foster said they appreciated those who took the time to vote.
“I’d like to thank everybody for coming out, whether they voted for me or for C.J.,” Smith said. “I was told originally that we would be lucky to have 40 people to vote. … I think (the turnout) says a lot about the community and how they are serious about the people they elect and want to make sure they got the right person for the job.”
Foster said he is thankful for people’s support Friday and for the past few years of his term.
“I’ve enjoyed the almost four years now,” he said. “I think we’ve made a lot of good accomplishments for the town. I made all of my decisions with the town’s best interest in mind.”
When he filed his declaration of candidacy this year, Smith said, he decided to run because he wants to get more involved in the community where he was born and raised.
After living in Terre Haute and Colorado, he moved back to Brownstown four years ago. He lives in town with his wife, Jennifer, and is the property manager at a family business, Hillview Mobile Home Park. He also is president of the Hickory Hills Golf Club board of directors.
“After doing that, I thought it would be a good opportunity for me to run,” Smith said. “I’m there to have an open ear, and this is going to be a learning process for me.”
Smith said he plans to attend council meetings to get up to speed on the issues. He said he knows some of the current council members and is excited about working with all of them.
“I’m just looking forward to getting involved and having some sort of say in the decisions that are made,” he said. “I feel that I have a lot to offer the council with my construction experience with the technical side of things.”
For the remainder of his term, Foster said, he will help the town continue to work on funding for the Heritage Park project in the downtown. The town also is in the early stages of a long-term sewer rehabilitation project.
Foster said he has liked working alongside the other four council members.
“I knew pretty much everybody before I came on,” he said. “It has been enjoyable to work with everybody.”
He also liked serving the community.
“I enjoyed people’s input because I took a lot of their input in some of the decisions I made,” he said. “I think we’ve made Brownstown a better community over the last 3½ years.”
When Foster decided to run for the council in 2011, that was his first venture into politics. As far as running for any type of office in the future, Foster said he’s unsure at this point.