Selma City School Board nearly finalizedPublished 1:38am Wednesday, August 29, 2012
While one race remains in limbo, the make-up of the next Selma City School Board was all but finalized Tuesday as races for school board president, district 2 and district 3 all came to a close. Only district 1 remains unresolved as it now heads to a runoff.
Dr. Kirit Chapatwala and Cynthia Harris received the most votes in the race for district 1 and now must wait six weeks for that race to be ultimately decided.
Henry Hicks Sr., the incumbent board president, said after he won Tuesday that he felt great about the entire campaign. Hicks beat opponent Holland Powell by over 2,000 votes and Kimesha Alvarado by almost 3,000 votes.
“I told the truth and I try to be as genuine as I can. I don’t try to sugar coat anything,” Hicks said of why he thought the community responded successfully to his campaign. “I have a genuine love for the children and I think people can look at me and know its not for me — its for the kids.”
Hicks said he was tired and exhausted from campaigning but said he is ready to get to work on unifying the school board.
“I would like to work on getting more parents to the school board meetings and having more meetings that involve our parents,” Hicks said. “And give parents an opportunity to come to the board and have a dialogue, and everyone respect one another.”
Alvarado offered both her congratulations and support to Hicks following the election.
“Congratulations to Mr. Hicks and I’m going to support whoever wins, and I hope in these next four years of his administration that there will be a more unifying manner throughout our city,” Alvarado said, adding she might be back at the next election to run again, though this is her third campaign.
“I’m a social activist in the community and I just like to make sure people know the issues in each race and I think that I did my job,” she said. “I will be here — in what capacity I don’t know — but I’m one of those people that believes that everyone should run for office at least once in their life.”
District 1 will see a run off in six weeks after Chapatwala collected 848 votes and Cynthia Harris received 697 votes.
Chapatwala teared up when results were announced, saying only that, “people in Selma have faith in me and I have faith in God.” Chapatwala said he went door-to-door in his campaign.
His opponent Harris said she did the same.
“My supporters will be back out there in the streets we will be back knocking on your doors again and trying to get your support once again,” Harris said about preparing for the run off. She said campaigning was an easy task for her because of her motive behind it.
“Its just for the kids — knowing that this system needs people who really care about the kids made it that much easier to get out there and campaign,” Harris said. “I have a second chance to go ahead and win it outright and I’m still going to be out there pushing for the kids.”
In District 2 Brenda Randolph-Obomanu won over Velma Brewer by an 8 percent margin with 906 votes and District 3 Frank Chestnut earned victory over his opponent, Phyllis Moore Houser, by 200 votes.
“I tried to stay positive in all of this and I tried to make sure that I didn’t get down in the weeds and down in the dirt, and I just thought about how god put me in a position of leadership,” Chestnut said about seeing a victory despite being handed a guilty charge in a harassment case earlier in August. He said his goal on the board is to unify and not divide and he thinks the community elected him again because of his hard work.
“Voters saw how I worked hard to save Byrd School and save all of the community schools because they don’t need to be closed,” Chestnut said. “And they saw how I worked as a conservative to make sure that the money was there to build Selma High School.”