Nicholson elected next mayor of Seymour


As the newly elected mayor of Seymour, Republican Matt Nicholson decided to celebrate his victory in Tuesday’s election over a slice of pizza or two.

After 12 hours at the polls Tuesday, shaking hands and thanking people for voting, he felt he deserved a moment to sit down and reflect on the day.

When all of the votes were counted, Nicholson took 59.3% or 1,963 of the 3,313 total ballots cast to beat out Democratic opponent Rexanne Ude, who received 1,350 votes or 40.8%, to become the city’s next leader.

But reflection proved difficult for Nicholson as he was joined at The Brooklyn Pizza Co. by a throng of friends, family and supporters who cheered and happily patted the 42-year-old on the back in congratulations.

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Nicholson will take office Jan. 1, succeeding current Republican Mayor Craig Luedeman, who decided not to seek a fourth term.

He has spent the past four years serving District 3 on the Seymour City Council, a position he said has helped him prepare to become mayor.

Jokingly, Nicholson said his first goal is to survive a winter storm.

“You never know what you’re going to walk into at the beginning of January,” he said. “But in all seriousness, we have projects that are waiting in the wings that are going to happen sooner rather than later. We’ve got to get moving on those and can’t drag our feet.”

He said people can expect the next four years to come at a fast pace.

“We’ve got to do what we can to improve our roads and sewers and help improve our citizens’ confidence in our public safety,” he said.

His first step will be choosing department heads, a process he said will get underway in the next 45 days.

“I want to surround myself with the best people, so I’ve got to find the best people possible,” he said. “I’m not opposed to anybody right now.”

Nicholson said it has been a long process of running for mayor, but there’s no time to rest as he will start working with Luedeman this week to make the transition easier.

“I announced that I was running for mayor on Thanksgiving last year, so I’ve been a candidate for 349 days,” he said. “But I feel great and look forward to the future.”

He said communication is key to making things happen the right way.

“I will make it smoother by making sure everyone knows what’s going on,” he said. “I don’t plan on holding secrets from anybody. I want to talk with anyone who wants to talk to me.”

Ude said there was never any negative feelings between her and Nicholson, and she congratulated him on his victory.

“I am certain (he) will work hard to lead Seymour for the next four years,” she said. “I congratulate our new mayor-elect on a wonderful accomplishment, and I look forward to seeing him succeed in this new role.”

The results may not have turned out how she wanted them to, but Ude said she is glad she ran for office and hopes more women will step up and do the same.

“Although I’ve been a lifelong community servant in Seymour, I’ve learned so much about our town during this campaign,” she said. “I’ve heard about the challenges that we need to address and the wonderful things that make Seymour such a great place to live, work and raise a family. I will carry all of that knowledge with me as I continue to serve Seymour in whatever capacity I can.”

Voter turnout may not have been as high as either candidate would have liked, but both were grateful for those who did show up at the polls.

“It all comes down to ‘Thank you,’” Nicholson said. “I wouldn’t be here without the voters. I’ve knocked on 2,500 doors and had some great conversations with people.”

By conducting curbside chats, going door to door and striking up conversations with people wherever he went, Nicholson said he has learned a lot and will take that information with him into office.

“We have some amazing parts of town and some amazing parts that need some TLC,” he said. “We’re an awesome little community, and I hope everyone sees that.”

In the next four years, Nicholson said he will remain just as accessible to people as he has been throughout his campaign.

“When you are accessible, it’s awesome,” he said. “People will tell you what is going on, but you have to pay attention.”

Nicholson also tipped his hat to Ude for running a strong campaign.

“Even today, we were joking with each other and having a good time,” he said. “I thank her for running such a good campaign against me. She has made me a better elected official in the process because we don’t always see things the same, and she has helped me see things from a different perspective.”

Ude said she will continue to be involved in Seymour and will work alongside anyone to make it the best place to live, work and raise a family.

“Win or lose, I’ll always be focused on community service and helping others,” she said. “Whether that’s serving on boards, volunteering, being on a task force, I’ll always be involved as long as I’m asked.”

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