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Democratic Party precinct captains to choose Board of Education replacement


The Guilford County Democratic Party is tasked with electing a replacement to finish out the unexpired term of Alan Duncan, former Guilford County Board of Education (GCBOE) at-large member and board chairman.

Duncan resigned from the seat in June after serving for 18 years on the board. In April, he was elected to the N.C. Board of Education, to represent District 5. In stepping down from the GCBOE, Duncan has withdrawn as a candidate for the board’s at-large seat. The party will also select a candidate to run in Duncan’s place for the 2018 General Election in November.

GCDP precinct leaders (captains) will submit two votes, one to fill the unexpired board seat for the next five months, and one to select a candidate for the November ballot. The candidate on the November ballot will run against at-large Republican candidate, Marc W. Ridgill.

Duncan has been replaced as chairman of the school board by Deena Hayes Green, District 8 board member. Wes Cashwell, District 6 board member, was elected to vice-chair.

An executive meeting of the GCDP will be held this Saturday, July 14, in order to select someone to fill the unexpired term as well as someone to be on the November ballot as the at-large Democratic candidate. According to state statutes, if an elected representative vacates his/her seat before a term expires, the representative’s party may pick a replacement within 30 days of the resignation. In this case, the deadline to select a replacement is August 22. To be considered for the vacant seat, candidates must first be nominated, by themselves or someone else, and the candidate must reside in the respective district, Guilford County.

A nominator does not have to reside in the district to nominate someone, however, the nominator must be a precinct leader in order to vote for a candidate. Precinct leaders serve as delegates to the county convention, submit resolutions and are eligible to vote for the leadership of the party. Once all nominations are made, then the nomination process is closed and nominees are given an opportunity to speak for three minutes. If there is only one nominee, the precinct leaders may conduct a voice vote. If there is more than one nominee, then the process goes to a ballot vote.

So far, four out of the five potential nominees have expressed an interest in filling the unexpired term as well as being on the fall 2018 ballot to serve a new term.

Keith McInnis, a domestic violence prevention coordinator for Family Services of the Piedmont, has expressed interest in running for the seat again. He ran for school board (at-large) during the 2018 Primary finishing in third against Duncan. McInnis has also served as a high school assistant principal and social studies teacher in Guilford County Schools, Lexington City Schools and Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools.

“I’ve been in the community for years, so putting my name back out there wasn’t a second thought for me. I know what I believe in: all children should be treated equally and fairly to ensure they are getting successful education in Guilford County Schools,” said McInnis.

Another candidate for the seat is Winston McGregor, Executive Director at Guilford Education Alliance. McGregor is the former president and executive director of Habitat for Humanity of Greater Greensboro. She has also worked as development director of the Democratic Leadership Council and Progressive Foundation, and as executive director of the American Council of Young Political Leaders.

Candidate Alfred Kraemer, an adjunct instructor of English Literature at Greensboro College, is interested in filling the vacant seat. He has had a 40-year career teaching English, Latin and working as a librarian. Kraemer holds a Ph.D. in English from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He ran unsuccessfully against Nancy Routh for an at-large seat in 2014.

“I think I’m a mature, steady voice, not swayed by political pressure, with intentions to do my best by the children of Guilford County Schools,” said Kraemer. Kraemer noted that he received support from the local Tea Party during his 2014 campaign for the BOE, which he said proves he can work across party lines.

Candidate Jose Oliva is a fellow with Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation, a Winston-Salem based philanthropic organization. He is also currently an at-large member of the N.C. Governor’s Advisory Council on Hispanic/Latino Affairs. Oliva received his undergraduate degree in Political Science and Economics from Guilford College, where he was a Bonner Scholar and became the first Latino to serve as the college’s Student Body President.

Khem D. Irby, an after-school tutor and national president of Parents Across America, is the Democratic candidate for the BOE District 6 seat and has decided to throw her name into the at-large race for Duncan’s unexpired term. Irby will not be running for the ballot spot, as she already secured a spot on the ballot (District 6) during the May Primaries over challenger Chris Hocker. She will face District 6 incumbent, Republican Wes Cashwell.

“This will just give me an opportunity to get some experience on the board. I really believe that we need equal representation and balance on the board,” said Irby.

The Executive Meeting of GC Democratic Party will be held this Saturday, July 14, 10 a.m. at GTCC Jamestown Campus, Percy H. Sears Applied Technology Building.