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Editorial: Willing to serve Rowan

New face on school board

Incumbents carried the day in Rowan County elections on Tuesday with one notable exception. Alisha Byrd won the Salisbury seat on the Rowan-Salisbury Board of Education, ousting incumbent Chuck Hughes. Byrd will be a worthy representative for the families in the Salisbury district while also looking out for the interests of the entire school system.

Byrd deserves more recognition than she has received so far.  She was in a three-way race with Gene Miller and Hughes, but sometimes it was hard to tell. As Miller and Hughes went at each other in one candidate forum, they acted as though they were the only people in the race. Byrd, founder of Gemstones Academy, maintained her dignity, articulated her views and won. She will have a lot to contribute to school board debate.

Though they faced strong challenges, Susan Cox and Chairman Josh Wagner won re-election to the school board, proof that the public approves of their work and wants them to continue. Serving on the school board has to be frustrating. Constituents expect much, but the board has less control than members would like and most people realize. Wagner and Cox weathered the over-hyped controversy about possible school closures. They still face the dilemma of having too many school buildings and not enough money to maintain them. Tuesday’s winners and the rest of the board — Travis Allen, Dean Hunter, Jean Kennedy, Richard Miller — face difficult decisions.

Republicans Mike Caskey and Craig Pierce handily won re-election to the Rowan County Board of Commissioners. They won a clear mandate and appear to work well, for the most part, with other board members — Chairman Greg Edds, Vice Chairman Jim Greene and Judy Klusman. As leading vote-getter, Caskey could make a run for board chairman. His low-key demeanor suggests that’s not one of Caskey’s life goals, but you never know. Meanwhile, Pierce’s sometimes harsh words proved no impediment to re-election. Voters like his frank talk; he’s a diplomat compared to Donald Trump.

Speaking of the president-elect, Trump won a bid to take Washington back from the establishment, but politics in Rowan County has been anti-establishment for a long time. It’s been so long, in fact, that one-time rebels have become the status quo. Could that happen to Trump? Hard to say. So far, you can only predict that he will be unpredictable.

Thank you to all the people who were willing to serve the community and put their names on the ballot. That takes guts.

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