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Mike Valdes takes the win in the Board of Education District 5 race
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Mike Valdes speaks to other guests at an Election Day celebration hosted by Dr. Rich McCormick. - photo by Sabrina Kerns

Newcomer Mike Valdes won against Democratic opponent Elaine Padgett for the Forsyth County Board of Education District 5 seat left vacant by incumbent Kristin Morrissey, taking 64% of the 17,813 ballots cast in the 2022 General Election on Tuesday, Nov. 8.

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: "We're feeling great! It's been a long process. We started back in February, it's been over nine months, and what we've learned is we have an amazing school system in Forsyth County and our residents are very proud of it. I think these results .... just show that [a negative campaign] doesn't resonate in Forsyth. We've got great schools, great teachers and great families, and we've got to focus on policy-driven solutions to just make it better. That's really what I'm all about.

"To all the voters of Forsyth County, the ones that voted for me and the ones that didn't, I'm signed up to represent all of you, and that's what I want to do. My door is open and my phone number is out there. I am ready to listen to the community .... And I look forward to working with our educators and supporting them and making our school system the No. 1 school system in Georgia."

On the issues: Valdes wants to continue to support programs that will keep critical race theory, divisive concepts and politics out of the classroom in Forsyth County Schools. He also promised to fight to put a cap on the local school property tax rate; ensure parents know what their kids are learning in school; and try to continue the quality of learning in the school system.

Forsyth County Board of Education District 5 seat

Mike Valdes: 64.08%

Elaine Padgett: 35.92%