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Semanson chosen as BOC chair
Laura Semanson, second from left, stands with other members of the Forsyth County Board of Commissioners after being chosen as chairwoman for 2019. She is the first woman to hold the seat. - photo by For the Forsyth County News

For the first time, a woman will have the top position on the Forsyth County Board of Commissioners.

At the first meeting of the year, District 5 Commissioner Laura Semanson was unanimously appointed as chairwoman, replacing District 3 Commissioner Todd Levent. She is the first female to hold the seat.

“I’m looking forward to working on a different level with everyone, and hopefully we can continue to come together to refine how we work as a team,” Semanson said at the meeting. “The whole is greater than the sum of the parts, and we definitely have a lot of work to do here, and with clear and open communication, cooperation across the board, we can do great things for the county. I appreciate having that confidence in me.”

Semanson was previously chosen as the board’s secretary in January 2017 before being selected as vice chairwoman in November of that year – when District 2 Commissioner Dennis Brown came on the board weeks after being elected to the then-vacant seat, and again in 2018.

Levent, who had served as chairman since 2017, thanked commissioners and staff for their support during his time in the role.

“It takes a lot of extra time and effort, but it sure was an honor,” he said. “Now, I get a little more free time to find time for my family, which is wonderful actually, just to let y’all know that.”

District 4 Commissioner Cindy Jones Mills was also unanimously approved as vice chair during the meeting and thanked Levent for his time and wished Semanson well in the position.

“I’ve been on the board now six years … but it takes everyone working together, and I hope that we will have a very united board and be able to offer Chair Semanson all the support that we can in working together, being united and supporting our staff all that we can,” Mills said.

The meeting was also the first for District 1 Commissioner Molly Cooper, who was elected last year and replace former Commissioner Pete Amos, meaning the board also has a female majority for the first time.

Levent made a motion for Cooper to take on the secretary position, which she declined. Brown will continue in that role, which he has held since 2017.