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Three qualify for Ward 2 Albany City Commission seat

Cheryl Calhoun, left, candidate for Ward II City Commission, pays her qualifying fee to Sharon Armbrust at the elections office Wednesday morning. Calhoun, Ivey Hines and Melissa Strother are on the ballot for the Nov. 8 special election to fill the seat vacated by Dorothy Hubbard.

Cheryl Calhoun, left, candidate for Ward II City Commission, pays her qualifying fee to Sharon Armbrust at the elections office Wednesday morning. Calhoun, Ivey Hines and Melissa Strother are on the ballot for the Nov. 8 special election to fill the seat vacated by Dorothy Hubbard.

— ALBANY — Three people — including one surprise candidate — qualified Wednesday to run for the Ward II Albany City Commission seat vacated by Dorothy Hubbard, who left the board to run for mayor in November.

As expected, Ivey Hines, a 58-year-old Marine Corps Logistic Base-Albany employee and a pastor, paid his $450 fee and signed the paperwork to get on the Nov. 8 special election ballot. Hines announced his plans Monday morning at the Government Center.

Melissa Strother, a graphic designer, fulfilled a promise made Tuesday to qualify for office by filling out the paperwork and qualifying just before noon Wednesday.

A surprise, however, was the qualification of bus driver and pastor Cheryl Calhoun, who also completed the paperwork and paid her qualifying fees for the Ward II seat Wednesday morning.

A self-professed “outside-of-the-walls” kind of pastor, Calhoun says she is a bus driver by trade and a spiritual leader by calling.

“I guess I’m a different kind of a pastor,” Calhoun said. “I’m an outside-of-the-walls kind of pastor. One that believes in taking the message to the people and helping those in need.”

Calhoun said that her spirituality plays a key role in her reason for running for public office.

“So often we tend to focus on certain parts of town, saying how they’ve been prosperous or they’ve been depressed. But the reality is that we’re all part of the this city — north, south, east and west — and it shouldn’t matter whether you’re a person who is successful or someone who is struggling. You have a right to be heard and represented,” Calhoun said.

Hubbard was forced to vacate her seat when she qualified last week to run for mayor. She, businesswoman B.J. Fletcher and former state representative John White qualified to run for mayor. A fourth candidate, Jesse Massey, qualified to run for mayor, but on Wednesday told elections officials he abandoning the race.

The qualifying period for Hubbard’s former seat is open until Friday at noon. Anyone who has been a resident of Ward II since May and can pay the $450 qualifying fee is eligible to run for the seat.

Hubbard was re-elected to the Ward II seat in November 2009 and began that term in January 2010. The term expires in January 2014.