We all have something to add for a better tomorrow


“I know you don’t care about my part of town.”

Before I share my thoughts on this comment someone recently said to me, let me share some of my week serving as mayor of the best small town in America.

Shortly after being elected in 2019, I sat down with a scrap of paper and jotted down some words I thought I wanted to focus on for each of the upcoming four years. For 2020 and 2021, the first word was housing. I wanted to work on our troubled spots and help take care of some blight, and I wanted to find a way to create more housing for our community.

While we have made progress in those areas over the last few years, we still need more, and I have learned many lessons along the way.

One of those lessons is that the more we talk about and work on a topic, the more traction we get and the further we progress.

Just this past week, I had a chance to sit down with a developer who is looking to add around 100 homes to our local market and is starting his research phase to see if we as a community meet the needs for them as a company and for us as a community to make it worth the time involved. Hopefully, their research will lead to future work in our area and we can continue to solve the housing needs of our area.

Have you ever noticed the same faces appear and wear multiple hats in our local community service organizations?

During a recent meeting with one of those passionate members of our community, I had a chance to learn about a few upcoming events.

The month of April is Child Abuse Prevention Month. During the month, we will see many pinwheels around the area as a part of the Pinwheels for Prevention campaign to help bring awareness to child abuse and safety.

Also, April 1 is set as Wear Blue Day, April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month and Denim Day is April 27 to show support for survivors. To learn more, Google “Pinwheels for Prevention” and “Denim Day 2022.”

I guess it is time to break down that opening comment. “I know you” — well, ma’am, you must not know me if you think the rest of this comment is true — “don’t care about my part of town.”

The only thing that changes my thoughts about a part of town is the location because they all have problems. I spent the better part of my childhood in the west end and as an adult only live two blocks from my childhood home. I have heard the comments since my youth of how “poor” or how “rough” or even it is where “those” people live.

I say “since my youth” because I still occasionally hear them today. The great part for me about growing up where I did is I am able to have great conversations with such a broad range of community members.

On a recent evening of schedule juggling to try to make it to several events that all overlapped, I walked away thinking of several great conversations over the few hours’ span, conversations so vastly different yet all the same that one might think they were all with the same group.

The participants, though, ranged from an employee at a local restaurant to lawyers, business owners, nonprofit directors, doctors, farmers, retirees and even one of the 12 candidates for the Ninth District of the House of Representatives.

For me, no one ranked higher or lower than another because they all have something to add to the fabric of our community. They all truly can help make our little part of the world a better place with a brighter future for the next generation and beyond.

So no, ma’am, “I know you don’t care about my part of town” is not a proper assessment because we are one community, and when we come together, we all have something to add for a better tomorrow.

Today, I leave you this thought from Herman Melville: “We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men.”

Matt Nicholson is the mayor of Seymour. Send comments to [email protected].

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