Voters choose two incumbents, two newcomers in H-F board contest

Gerald Pauling emerged as the top vote-getter in Tuesday’s highly contested board of education race in Homewood-Flossmoor High School District 233.
  Gerald Pauling
Incumbent Debbie Berman was re-elected to the board and newcomer Pamela Jackson collected the third most votes. Nathan Legardy won the fourth spot, according to the initial vote tally. With results of all precincts posted, he was ahead of Jonathan Cook by four votes.
Longtime H-F board member Jody Scariano fell short in her bid for another term. She finished in sixth place.
Voters cast ballots in nine local races but, with 10 candidates, the race for the high school board drew the most attention. It came almost two years to the day after Pauling was defeated by about 100 votes in the last H-F board election. This time, he finished more than 500 votes ahead of Berman.
  Flossmoor village board
  candidate Gyata Kimmons,
  right, speaks to friend
  Ernest Woods of Hazel
  Crest on election night. 
(Mary Compton/H-F
In other contests Tuesday, first-time candidate Gyata Kimmons was elected to a seat on the Flossmoor Village Board. He finished first among three candidates, two of them incumbents, on the ballot. However the winners of the two other board seats are still not known because vote totals for two write-in candidates still must be announced by the Cook County Clerk’s Office.
Steve Johnson, the incumbent president of the Homewood-Flossmoor Park District, was the top vote getter in a race for two board seats. Linda Ojode was elected to the other seat.
Incumbent Thomas Nowak and newcomer Timothy Martin were elected to the Homewood Public Library Board.
And Flossmoor resident Jay Readey was elected to the board of Prairie State College.
  Write-in candidates for
  Flossmoor village board
  Michelle Nelson and Dave
  Bruni watch the poll results.
  Vote counts for write-in
  candidates were not
  available Tuesday night.
(Mary Compton/H-F
Four other elections — for the Homewood Village Board, Homewood District 153 board, Flossmoor District 161 board and Flossmoor Public Library board — were uncontested.
With 38 of 38 precincts counted in the H-F school board race, Pauling led all candidates with 3,374 votes. Berman had 2,819 votes and Jackson received 2,742. Legardy had 2,343 votes, Cook had 2,339, Scariano had 2,257, Merle Huckabee had 1,964, Paris Walker had 1,405, Andrew Lindstrom had 1,336 and Jimo (J.K) Kasali had 399.
“This makes me very proud, not only for the effort I put forth, but for the efforts of so many of my friends and neighbors,” Pauling said of his victory.
“I want to thank people for their words of encouragement and their votes and let them know that I intend to serve in the manner that I said I would, which is to not have an agenda but to put our students first and go from there.”
Pauling ran for a four-year term after being appointed to the board in October 2018. He had previously served on the board for seven years before losing re-election in 2017. The Flossmoor resident is a 1985 graduate of H-F.
Berman, of Flossmoor, said she is “very honored and humbled” to be re-elected to the board. She will begin her sixth year on the board. 
Pauling, Berman, Legardy and Scariano ran as a team in Tuesday’s election.
In the Flossmoor Village Board election, Kimmons led the three candidates on the ballot with 1,464 votes. Perry Hoag and Jim Mitros, both longtime board members, came in second and third on the ballot. Hoag received 1,125 votes and James Mitros got 937. However, write-in votes for David Bruni and Michelle Svetic have still not been tabulated.
Kimmons said he was pleased to see he was in the lead. 
“Now of course, we’ve got work to do, so I’m excited to roll my sleeves up,” he said.
Kimmons said he was celebrating with his family and planned to stop by Flossmoor Station where Mayor Paul Braun and other candidates were watching the results, as well as a gathering at Bruni’s home.
Kimmons said the unofficial results show that the people of Flossmoor are open to new ideas and that they want to get involved in their community.
“I think ultimately I really ran on a campaign of not only being inclusionary, but (also) really wanting every part of town to participate in what this looks like going forward,” he said.
One of his main goals as a trustee will be to encourage the board as a whole to be more engaged with people from all across the community, he said
Nelson said the Cook County Clerk’s vote counting system would not allow write-in tabulations to be shown yet, but she believes they will be available within the next couple days.
While she is eager to learn the official results, Nelson said the unofficial results look promising.
“Mr. Kimmons has a strong lead; I’m so excited that the community has responded well to his campaign and that they are definitely going to be voting him in,” she said. “He is definitely what we need for this community.”
In the Homewood library race, with 19 or 19 precincts reporting, Martin got 1,101 votes, Nowak got 1,083. Cherise “CeCe” Belue came in third with 937 votes and Oludalopo (Dolly) Kasali got 582.
In the Prairie State board race, Readey was elected to his first term. Incumbent John Stanfa, the top vote-getter won the other seat. With 116 of 116 Cook County precincts reporting, Stanfa received 7,704 votes, Readey got 7,210, Octavia Altheimer got 7,046, Quintella Bounds got 5,947 and William S. McClinton got 5,697. 
Stanfa and Readey also came in first and second in PSC’s Will County precincts, sealing their victory.
Four Homewood Village Board members were re-elected without opposition Tuesday. Jay Hefferman (1,741 votes with 19 of 19 precincts reporting), Lisa Purcell (1,773) and Karen Washington (1,80) were elected to four-year terms. Lauren Roman (1,930) was elected to a two-year term.
In Homewood School District 153, four incumbents were re-elected. They are Ronald Zinnerman (1,429 votes with 17 of 17 precincts reporting), Alexander Bosch, (1,442), James Schmidt (1,506) and Ashanti Bethea (1,479).
Three board members were elected in Flossmoor School District 161. They are Christina Popola-Vliestra (2,736 votes with 25 of 25 precincts reporting), incumbent Michelle Hoereth (2,773 votes) and David Linnear (2,682).
Incumbents Robert Bramlette and Derrick Hayes were re-elected to the Flossmoor library board with 1,525 and 1,560 votes, respectively. Two other seats were also at stake but no candidates were on the ballot to be elected to them. 

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