Selectmen Choose Next Lyme First Selectman

Newly-appointed Lyme Third Selectwoman Kristina White (second from right) joins retired First Selectman Steven Mattson, new First Selectman David Lahm, and Second Selectman John Kiker after being appointed on Tuesday, July 5, 2022 (Brendan Crowley/CT Examiner)

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LYME – David Lahm has replaced Steven Mattson as the First Selectman of Lyme, after Mattson formally resigned from the position at the Board of Selectmen meeting on Tuesday afternoon – as he prepares for his “second retirement.”

“Throughout my career, I’be taken over the helm of several organizations – some of them were very poorly run, some of them were run very well,” Lahm said. “This is a very well-run organization, which scares me because it’s much harder to take over a well-run organization, and I just hope that I can carry on and do as well as Steven to steward this town.”

Second Selectman John Kiker made the motion to appoint Lahm as first selectmen, and Lahm and Kiker both voted to approve the appointment. Lahm, who chairs the Lyme Republican Town Committee, was elected to the board as a Republican in 2021, running along with Democratic candidate Kiker as the only two candidates vying for two open seats.

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It marked the second consecutive time Lyme’s new selectman was appointed by the board rather than elected at the polls, but there was no objection to the process from the dozen residents who attended Tuesday afternoon – which Mattson remarked was a large turnout for a Lyme Board of Selectmen meeting.

Mattson was first appointed to serve as first selectman in July 2017, when long-time First Selectmen Ralph Eno retired four months before the municipal election after serving as first selectman for over two decades –.from 1991 to 2001, and again from 2006 to 2017.

Mattson, running as a Democrat, was elected to his first full term in November 2017 over Republican candidate Mark Wayland – winning by a vote of 590 to 425. Mattson then ran unopposed to secure re-election in 2019 and 2021 – the last time with the dual endorsement of the town Democrats and Republicans. 

Kiker thanked Mattson for his service to the town, and also for pushing him to run for selectman in the first place, and teaching him how to be a selectman. Lyme is on solid financial footing, Kiker said, thanks to Mattson’s financial acumen.

“He told me early on that, at the end of the day, it’s not about what’s best for Democrats or Republicans, it’s about what’s best for the town,” Kiker said. “Over the past five years, I’ve seen him embody that philosophy in everything he’s done, and it’s a philosophy that’s been imprinted on me.”

Lahm and Kiker then voted to appoint Kristina White, executive director of the Lyme Land Trust, to replace Lahm as third selectmen. White said she was excited about learning more about how Lyme’s town government works, and said she is open and available for everyone to speak to.

“One of the things I love about this town is that it’s all about the community and volunteerism, and it’s all about the Town of Lyme,” White said. “For me, it’s about Lyme and what’s best for Lyme.”