Newcomer Mike Valdes won against Republican opponent Erin Knight for the Forsyth County Board of Education District 5 seat left vacant by incumbent Kristin Morrissey, taking 52.13% of the 6,056 ballots cast in the General Primary and Nonpartisan General Election on Tuesday, May 24.
Who he is: Valdes lives in south Forsyth alongside his wife and three kids, working as a construction engineer with more than 20 years of experience in business.
How he reacted: “The last 3 months have been exhausting and amazing at the same time," Valdes said. "We spent the majority of our time amongst the people, out in the community, knocking on nearly 3,000 doors, speaking at dozens of engagements, hosting meet and greets and, most importantly, listening to the voters.
"I’ve learned so much, yet I am more optimistic than ever about the future," he continued. "I’m humbled at all the support we received from so many people. I want to thank the Republicans of South Forsyth for having entrusted me to care for our kids. I am grateful beyond words for my amazing wife and kids, who have been at my side every step of the way.
"We have an excellent school system in Forsyth County, and I will continue to work hard to make it even better for our kids and for our parents. I also want to give a big shout out to our teachers! Thank you for your support and for what you do each and every day! I look forward to working hard for you and your students.”
On the issues: Valdes wants to continue to support initiatives to keep critical race theory and divisive concepts out of the classrooms and curriculum in Forsyth County Schools. He also wants to ensure parents “have the driver’s seat” when it comes to making decisions about their child’s education while working to use his business experience to better invest district revenues into academic-focused programs for students.
What’s next: Valdes will face Democrat Elaine Padgett in the Nov. 8 election.
Forsyth County Board of Education District 5 seat:
Erin Knight - 47.87%
Mike Valdes - 52.13%