Southern Indiana

Floyd County Democrats will vote to fill a vacant county council seat next month, after the death of a long-time member.

Tom Pickett died July 10 at the age of 68. The Democrat had represented District 1 on the Floyd County Council since 2007.

Pickett’s party will hold a caucus to fill his seat on August 7.

“It is a tremendous responsibility to select an individual to lead and serve our community,” said party chair Adam Dickey in a statement. “Our committee members are ready to ensure that the individual selected will be both well qualified for the position and also reflect the dedication and commitment Tom Pickett put forward for the citizens of our community.”

Those interested must file a declaration of candidacy by 10 a.m. August 4. Candidates must be at least 18 years old and reside in District 1, which includes New Albany.

Council president Brad Striegel has served since 2009. He described Pickett as someone who was always in good spirits and ready to crack a joke, and said he will be missed for more than his work as a civil servant..

“He very much loved that aspect of his life, but, you know, there’s more to Tom than just ‘Councilman Pickett,’” Striegel said. “He was a good individual that worked on a lot of people’s cars over the years and walked all around town, and he was just a good, solid person outside of his council work.”

Striegel said Pickett had a particular interest in public safety, including matters of law enforcement and emergency response. Striegel said he hopes Pickett’s replacement matches the late council member’s dedication to the job.

“It’s just somebody that has a passion to serve the community and the time in order to serve the community,” he said. “One of the things that I think people underestimate about positions like this is, even though it may be looked upon as a part time position, it is what you make of it.”

Pickett is the second Floyd County politician to die in office this summer. On July 6, Floyd County Democrats selected Deanna McLaughlin to fill her late husband Pat’s seat on the New Albany City Council.

John Boyle covers southern Indiana communities and health for WFPL News. He is a Report for America Corps member.