Two Richmond County Board of Education newcomers and an Augusta Commission challenger qualified for open seats before filing closed at noon Wednesday.
Business owner Lucien Williams and Augusta resident Christy R. Cunningham filed to run against 12-year incumbent school board member Marion Barnes for the District 1 seat.
Stan Hawes, the former Laney-Walker Neighborhood Association president who announced plans to run months ago and has campaign signs in yards around District 1, was the final commission candidate to qualify. He will face Commissioner Matt Aitken and former Augusta-Richmond County Coliseum Authority member Bill Fennoy, city water treatment operator Thelonious Jones and former Augusta Green Party Chairwoman Denice Traina.
The only other newcomer to the Board of Education race, Pq Corp. shipping manager Robert Cheek, qualified Monday to run against District 8 school board member Jimmy Atkins.
The remaining incumbents, Barbara Pulliam in District 4, Patsy Scott in District 5 and Helen Minchew in District 10, are unopposed.
Williams said he chose to run for the board to provide change and a fresh face to the education system in Augusta.
“(Barnes) was running with no opposition, and he’s done a fine job ... but if you’re running for a race you ought to have somebody to run against,” Williams said. “I’ve been wanting to do something like this for a while.”
Williams, 57, the owner of Tax Man of Augusta, said he would like to see improvements in the public school system. He had a son graduate from the Academy of Richmond County, but he said his other son received a better education from Augusta Preparatory Day School, which is something he’d like to see change.
“There’s always room for improvement in Richmond County schools,” Williams said.
For the Augusta Commission, District 5 incumbent Bill Lockett will be unopposed.
Qualifying earlier this week were commission candidates Mary Davis, Ed Enoch and Cleveland O’Steen in District 3, where Mayor Pro-Tem Joe Bowles is ineligible to run again; Kenneth Echols and Donnie Smith in District 7, where Jerry Brigham is term-limited; and Harold Jones and Marion Williams in Super District 9 to replace term-limited J.R. Hatney.