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By Jeff Moreland
When Washington County voters go to the polls this fall, they will have some choices in several local races.
Three school board seats will be up for election, but only two of the current members will face opposition.
Margaret Newby, the incumbent in District 4, is opposed by Buffy Mann. Newby was appointed to the board following the resignation of former board member Greg Goatley in 2006. Newby was selected over Mann by state officials who were assigned to fill the void. Mann later filed to run against Newby in the 2006 election, but withdrew prior to the election. She is currently employed as a teacher in Marion County.
“I decided to seek the position after the appointment of our new superintendent. I see an opportunity for growth through change,” Mann said. “I also have three children currently enrolled in the Washington County Public School System. Two at Washington County Elementary School (kindergarten and fifth grade) and one at Washington County Middle School (seventh grade). As an educator, as well as a parent, I am very active in their education as I have served on site based decision making councils both at the elementary and middle school level, both as a parent in Washington County and a teacher in Marion County.”
Mann added that she is eager to serve and see the school district move forward.
In District 5, incumbent Pat Clements faces challenger Paul Krey. Krey is a native of California, and is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force, a former NASA employee, and also a former business consultant for several Fortune 500 companies.
“Without a complete understanding of what the school board has already allocated or contracted, it is difficult to state exactly what is needed,” Krey said in a statement to The Sun. “I understand that the board has some basic functions, which are to hire a county school superintendent, levy taxes for new infrastructure, buildings, etc., and to develop a long-term implementation plan for the county school system. Given that two functions have been accomplished, I look forward to assessing the current facility issues, listening to the current concerns and suggestions from parents, faculty and administrators and helping establish a clear baseline of requirements from which we can formulate a vision for our county educational system 20 years hence.”
Krey added that current issues need to be assessed, and said he would like to see communications and interaction between the school board and the residents of Washington County.
“Common sense, communication, experience, knowledge, and vision are what talents I offer to the county in running for the school board,” Krey concluded.
Patsy Lester, board chair and representative for District 3, is unopposed in her bid for re-election.
Springfield City Council
Springfield’s city council has two new candidates seeking office in addition to the current six council members seeking re-election. Debbie Wakefield and Richard “Richie” Hamilton have filed to run for council seats. Wakefield said she feels her family’s roots in the community, as well as her experiences outside Springfield, will be valuable in serving on the council.
“I have spent most of my life as a resident of Springfield. My family’s roots in Springfield go back many generations. I know the people, the good things that make us proud, the culture and the areas of opportunity,” she said. “I’ve also lived outside of Springfield, and that experience has been valuable in adding to my diversity as a candidate for city council, and it’s for those reasons that I decided to run for city council.”
Wakefield added that she is a person who knows how to lay out plans, goals and objectives, and she thinks her personal commitment has allowed her to flourish in her career with the Farm Service Agency, as well as exceeding the educational goals she has set for herself.
“One of the things I would like to be a part of for Springfield is opening the doors for our youth. A part of that focus would be to help them feel they are a part of our community,” she said. “I would love to be instrumental in allowing the youth of our city to form a focus group and be a part of making decisions about what our youth need today, whether that is a place to gather or providing them with information on the hot topics and issues they face. I think this initiative would open the door to a lot of possibilities for our future.”
Hamilton said he has had interest in being a part of the council for some time, and is hopeful he will be elected.
“I want to get my voice heard, and if the people of Springfield have issues to address, I’d like to be one of the people to help address those issues and help solve any problems they might have,” he said.
The six incumbents have also filed for re-election, and they are Brian Bishop, Paul Borders, John “Willie” Ellery, Mike Elliott, Carolyn Hardin, and John R. Hardin. The top six vote getters will be elected to serve on the council.
Willisburg City Commission
Three new candidates are seeking seats on the Willisburg City Commission, and they are Mitchell Price, Pat Kirsch and Timothy Stine.
Incumbents Wayne Pinkston, Johnnie Beall, James Thompson and Jennifer Chesser have also filed for re-election. The top four vote getters will be elected to serve on the commission.
Mackville City Commission
One new member will be elected to the Mackville City Commission as Dennis Gammon, who has served for the past four years, decided to not seek re-election. Gammon said his work schedule makes it difficult for him to attend meetings.
“It’s just somebody else’s time to do it,” he said.
Only one person has filed for the position vacated by Gammon, and that is Justin Reynolds, who will automatically be elected as he is unopposed for the position.
The other three incumbents, Robin Cochran, Linda Anderson, and Nathan Cochran, have filed and will continue to serve on the four-person commission.