Cheryl Calhoun will join Ward III race

Cheryl Calhoun

Cheryl Calhoun

ALBANY, Ga. — Cheryl Calhoun can laugh at the issue now. She’s moved past it.

It was a little less than two years ago that Calhoun, who’d planned to run in the Ward I Albany City Commission race, was told she was actually in Ward II when city officials misread GIS documentation and was later disqualified from the Ward II race when officials discovered the error. She tearfully accepted the Dougherty County Board of Elections and Registrations’ decision after an emotional hearing.

“I was knocked to the ground for a 10 count,” Calhoun, a school bus driver and Red Cross volunteer, said Thursday. “When that happens, people usually stay down. But I got up, and I’m stronger for what happened. I’m ready to start campaigning.”

Calhoun will conduct a news conference at 11 a.m. Tuesday at the downtown Government Center to formally announce her candidacy for the Ward III commission seat currently held by Christopher Pike. Businesswoman B.J. Fletcher previously announced she will seek that seat.

“I believe people in our community absolutely need to have a choice when it comes to their government,” Fletcher said Thursday. “There are more races (in wards II and V) up for election this year, and I hope others in the community will do what we’re doing here in Ward III and challenge for these seats.

“I say the more the merrier; let’s give people an option.”

Messages left with Pike seeking comment were not returned Thursday.

Calhoun said she and her husband, Randal Calhoun, moved into Ward III a year and a half ago, but she still double-checked to make sure there would be no issue once qualifying opened Aug. 26.

“I went down to the Elections office and we had a laugh about it,” Calhoun said. “I’ve certainly moved past that, and I’m looking forward to getting in the race for the Ward III seat.”

Calhoun said her job transporting students in the Dougherty County School System is part of the motivation for her candidacy.

“A lot of the students I pick up live in Ward III,” she said. “They’re facing the same problems that have existed in our community for a while now. I’m concerned about these children; I’m concerned about my community.

“My father (the Rev. Freddie Hird) set the best example for me by concentrating much of his efforts to make the community better in problem areas. The passion I have for trying to help make our community better comes from him.”

The Albany municipal election will be conducted Nov. 5. In addition to the Ward III seat, also up for new terms are the wards II and V seats, currently held by Ivey Hines and Bob Langstaff, respectively.