Two incumbents win seats in Sylva, “old” newcomer joins board, too

Sylva voters on Tuesday night might have put the brakes on something of a voting trifecta by adding former commissioner Lynda Sossamon to the town board at the expense of incumbent Ray Lewis.

Two other incumbent commissioners, Chris Matheson and Harold Hensley, both won seats at the table.

Hensley, Lewis and current Commissioner Danny Allen generally spoke in a unified voice and voted together when it came to deciding most Sylva issues.

Sossamon, who served a four-year term in the 1990s, described herself as “progressive yet traditional in things such as saving taxpayer money — but progressive in the sense that I want to move Sylva forward in some ways.”

“I’m glad it’s over,” Hensley said before saying he needed to call his wife and let her know the results.

“I am honored to have the opportunity to serve the citizens of the town of Sylva for four more years,” an openly relieved Matheson said.

Turnout was low. Out of 1,593 register voters, just 234 people opted to vote. Among them were Tammi VanHook and her 89-year-old mother, Ida Jean Bryson.

VanHook said she cast her vote for one simple reason: “If you don’t vote, you can’t complain.”

Bryson, who registered to vote on Oct. 16, 1965, had a slightly different view than her daughter.

“I don’t complain,” she said softly. “It don’t do no good.”

But Bryson never fails to cast her vote. Board of Elections records show Bryson has participated in every election in which she’s been eligible to vote since registering on Oct. 16, 1965.


Town Commissioner

Seats up for election: 3

Total seats on board: 5  

Christine Matheson (I) 177

Lynda Sossoman 152

Harold Hensley 127

Ray Lewis (I) 88

John Bubacz 72

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