After five runoff elections Tuesday, Auburn has its City Council for the next four years.
The municipal election on Aug. 28 yielded three definitive winners, including one that ran unopposed. The remaining candidates for mayor, wards 2, 4, 5 and 6 took back to the campaign trail for another 6 weeks for the runoff election Oct. 9.
The unofficial election results, which do not include the provisional ballot votes, were announced at Auburn City Hall Tuesday night.
Kelley Griswold with 63.6 percent of the vote defeated Todd Scholl in the race to represent Ward 2 on the City Council.
“I’m thrilled,” Griswold said. “We worked really hard on this. We reached out. We touched a lot of people in the ward. We walked every single street in the ward. The ward is just tremendously diverse, wide-spread and I think now is time to just find out what the overall issues are for the ward.”
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Brett Smith received 63.5 percent of the vote to defeat Jim Ryan for the Ward 4 seat.
“We’re excited to be a part of this,” Smith said. “We were driving over here, and I was thinking we’re going to be casting votes and are going to be in the chronicles of the history of Auburn. That’s a big deal but its also a lot of responsibility.”
Steven Dixon won the race for Ward 5 with 59.3 percent of the vote and defeated Walter Northcutt.
“I’m just really excited right now,” Dixon said. “I’m really excited about the future of Auburn and where we’re going. I got to meet with almost all of the Council people that have ran and I think we have really good people here.”
Bob Parsons won the seat for Ward 6 after he received 50.8 percent of the vote and defeated Sarah Brown.
“I feel great,” Parsons said. “I feel happy about it, I’m excited. It was a pretty tight race so it says a lot about where we are as a city and where we want to move, how we want to move forward. I’m excited.”
Only 13 votes separated Parsons and Brown Tuesday when the votes were counted, which did not include the provisional ballots. Those will not be counted until Oct. 16. At that time, the official election results will be finalized.
Many of the Council members elected Tuesday are new to their seats. Only two incumbents will return to the Council.
Beth Witten, current councilwoman for Ward 3, faced no opponent and will continue to represent Ward 3. Tommy Dawson, current councilman for Ward 8, will continue to represent Ward 8 after winning his race outright on Aug. 28.
Connie Fitch Taylor, councilwoman-elect for Ward 1, unseated current Councilwoman Verlinda White in the election Aug. 28.
The new Council members will take office Nov. 5 and have their first public meeting Nov. 6.
Griswold said he is ready to get with members of the new Council to figure out what their agenda will be.
“The thing I ran on was restore trust,” Griswold said. “As far as my Ward 2 constituents go, I want to make sure that I can follow through on that. When they have an issue or concern, I’m going to be there and hear from them.”
Smith said he wants to ensure the City continues to fund the Parks and Recreation Department, keeps education standards high and provides equality and opportunity for all citizens. A large part of his campaign was visiting the different homes in Ward 4 and talking with voters.
“Every neighborhood is different,” Smith said. “We’ve got new developments and old developments, and everyone has an idea of what they need. That, to me is what is important.”
Dixon said he is looking forward to working with the other members of the Council to represent the Auburn citizens’ interests.
“Let’s put everything out there that we heard from our voters and try to bring some of that stuff out for them and support our community,” Dixon said. “I think that’s the most important thing about running and being a council member is to be a representative for the people of Auburn and our districts and wards.”
Parsons said he is going to take some time to figure out what he would like to do first as a member of the City Council.
“It’s going to be an exciting opportunity for me to get into the City Council and work as a team member, and I’m looking forward to doing that,” Parsons said.
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