City council to have nearly all new faces


Come January, the Seymour City Council will have nearly all new faces.

Of the seven candidates elected to district and at-large seats, only two have served on the council before.

Republicans Drew Storey and Bret Cunningham, both political newcomers, were elected to the two at-large seats, while Matthew Wheeler was elected to District 1, Chad Hubbard to District 3 and Seth Davidson to District 4.

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District 5 Councilman David Earley, an independent, and District 2 Councilman Jerry Hackney, a Republican, were the only two councilmen to be re-elected. Earley, first elected in 2011, will be the city’s longest-tenured councilman.

In the at-large race, Storey and Cunningham emerged as the two winners of a seven-way race. Storey finished first with 1,796 votes, or 30.5%, and Cunningham finished with 1,283 votes, or 21.79%, while Eric DiBlasi Jr., an independent, placed third with 1,060 votes, or 18% of the vote.

Incumbent Lloyd Hudson, a Democrat, placed fourth with 966 votes, or 16.41%, after serving for more than 20 years. Democrat Joshua Ratliff finished with 548 votes, or 9.31%, and Libertarians Erin Meadors and Richard Meadors finished with 2.31% and 1.68% of the vote, respectively.

Storey said he is excited to serve the community that has placed their trust in him.

“I’m ready for the responsibility, and I’m super happy to be partnered up with a council of young professionals and new mayor,” he said.

Storey plans to hit the ground running by working with the current administration and council to understand pending issues in the city’s government.

“I think that will be an opportunity to be educated and brought up to speed,” he said.

Cunningham said he is humbled by the community members who selected him to the council.

“I look forward to making Seymour as awesome as we can,” he said, adding it will be a community effort to create progress. “As long as we all do a little bit, it will equal a whole lot.”

Cunningham said he looks forward to tackling the city’s existing infrastructure and being a “sounding board” for the community.

“I look forward to engaging with the public and seeing what they need and want,” he said.

In the District 1 race, Wheeler defeated incumbent Democrat John J. Reinhart with 307 votes, or 57.06%. Wheeler said he is looking forward to serving the city on the council and plans to lean on Earley and Hackney for advice.

“I think we will have to rely on them a little more for procedure issues and more, but I think it also opens it up for everyone to have an open mind on issues,” he said.

Wheeler said he thinks Reinhart served the city well over the years, but the community has embraced seeing new faces in local government.

“I think people are ready to see new faces and new approaches,” he said.

In the District 2 race, Hackney, who was appointed to the council last year, won with 68.27% of the vote, compared to Independent Chad Malone’s 31.73%.

Hackney, who thanked his supporters, said after Tuesday’s election he looks forward to working with all of those who are newly elected.

“I’m very happy. I think we have a good group,” Hackney said. “My wife and I worked pretty hard putting signs out and talking to a lot of people. I’m looking forward to being on the council for another four years.”

Hubbard won with 62.55% of the vote, compared to 22.98% for Democrat Ollie Knott and 14.47% for Independent Marcus Sewell.

“I’m overwhelmed with joy,” Hubbard said. “I’m looking forward to the new position with my fellow new leaders here in Seymour. I’m ready to hit the ground running and hopefully take Seymour to another level in the future. I’m thankful for the people of Seymour for putting their trust around me.”

Davidson was unopposed after defeating Jim Rebber in the May primary.

“I am super excited and beyond blessed to be given the opportunity to represent not only the people of the Fourth District but all city residents,” Davidson said. “A new era is about the begin with many new faces in city leadership, and I am happy to be part of this. I plan to have an open line of communication with all residents and to let them know that all of their concerns will be heard and acted upon.”

Earley won with 58.85% of the vote, compared to Republican Michael Fickert’s 41.16%.

Earley said the new council is going to “have to crawl before we walk” when it starts its business in January.

“I don’t mean that in a bad way,” he said. “I look back, eight years ago when I was first elected, and things seem to move so fast. I would encourage our new councilmen to not hesitate to ask questions as things move forward.”

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