CITY COUNCIL: Newcomer Page knocks out Best

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By Todd Martin

The Shelbyville City Council will look almost the same with five of six members returning, but the voting was quite different than in years past. Jon Swindler, 13 percent, and newcomer Frank Page, 12 percent, were the first and third vote getters in the race among nine for the top six spots. Joining them were incumbent Donna Eaton, the second top vote getter with 12.6 percent, and (in order) incumbents Alan Matthews (11.8), Mike Zoeller (11.3) and Shane Suttor (10.7). George Best, 10.1 percent, was the lone incumbent council member not elected, and he was followed by Norris Beckley with 9.8 percent and Robert Burry with 8.5 percent.  Swindler, who had finished sixth, seventh and fifth in the past three elections was shocked, to hear he earned the most votes. “Whoa, I’m speechless,” he said. “It’s just an honor to be one of the six.” As a Republican wave swept over the state, only two Republicans – Swindler and Page – were voted onto the council, although several members said they do not see city hall as a partisan area. “If it was a more partisan arena, I think it would mean more,” Swindler said. Page said he’s honored to get his first shot on the council. “It feels good, and I feel very relieved,” he said. “There have been so many close elections in the city in the past, I wasn’t sure what would happen.” Page said being the only newcomer should be helpful. “I’m ready to get plugged in so I can fully understand all the different aspects,” he said. “I think I have a good understanding of how things work, but I’m sure there are some things I need to look at much closer and get used to.” The night was a little bittersweet at the Eaton household where Donna had retained her city council seat but her husband David had lost his bid for state Senate to Paul Hornback. “It’s a little different, but I’m glad I won, and I appreciate everyone’s vote,” she said. “I think the previous council worked very well together, but I’m sure our newcomer will fit right in.” Though Swindler and Eaton held large margins, the final four spots came down to just 1.3 percentage points, and the close race left several candidates wondering. “I feel a lot better now than I did about 20 minutes ago,” said Alan Matthews late Tuesday evening. “I don’t care where I finish, but I’m just glad to be back on the council.” Mike Zoeller was already out picking up signs when the results went final. “I knew it would be close,” he said. “I thought there were a few shoe-ins, and then the other six would be fighting for three spots. I’m just glad to be back on the council.” Shane Suttor, a Democrat, who earned the final spot on the council, said he was happy to be back. “I was surprised by the number of people that voted Republican, but I’m just glad to be back on the council,” he said. “I’m excited for all of us to get back to work on initiatives we’ve started like the 7th Street Corridor Study. I think we’re going to continue to get a lot of work of done.”