Commonwealth Journal

November 7, 2012

Daniels unseats Minton in Pulaski school board race

by Chris Harris
Commonwealth Journal

Somerset —  

Tuesday’s General Election saw one Pulaski County School Board member unseated, another stay on, and in yet another race a battle of newcomers.
Brandy Daniels staged the upset of the evening when she beat incumbent Olivia Minton by a count of 1,622 votes to 1,411, or 53 percent vs. 47 percent. Minton, the wife of former Pulaski County Schools Superintendent Bert Minton, came on the board in 2008.
Daniels took the District 1 seat away on Tuesday, however. An involved parent of four children, three currently in the school system — two at Southern Elementary, one at Southern Middle — Daniels has served on parent advisory groups with the central office, site-based decision making councils, and spent a lot of time as a parent volunteer.
“I put my heart into it,” she said of her race. “I knew I was going to work hard because I knew (Minton) was going to work hard, but I was willing to do the work. ... She ran a good race.”
Daniels thanked the voters “100 percent” and her supporters for going door-to-door and putting out signs and making phone calls. She said that she “prayerfully considered” the decision to run for the school board but decided to do so having a “vested interest” in what’s going on within the school system.
“My reason for running was doing what’s the best for kids,” she said. “I have no political background, no hidden agenda.”
She added that she’s “not tied to the current administration” running the school district, and will oppose it if she ever feels they aren’t “doing what needs to be done for our kids, but if they are, then I’m behind them 100 percent,” she said.
Daniels became associated with a website called protectpcschools.com, promoting her and the other two winners, Jim Wilson and Dr. Michael Citak. Wilson became embroiled in political controversy with Minton, who accused Wilson in advertisements of attacking her personally as part of the campaign.
Whatever the case, Wilson, an incumbent, won the District 2 seat by 1,944 votes to 1,439, or 57 percent to 43 percent, over challenger Louis Hyden.
“I’m tickled to death; I’m at a loss for words,” said Wilson. “I’ve been nervous all day, (but) I’ve had a lot of positive feedback from the public.”
He also thanked all his supporters and those who helped him make calls and propel his campaign. “I had unreal support, I just can’t get over it.”
As far as his conflict with Minton, Wilson said that she “had a beef with” him.
“She was saying these things, that Jim Wilson voted this way or that way; I don’t know why she was saying these things,” said Wilson of Minton, who also criticized the school administration’s performance as part of her campaign. “I told her if she stayed in Kentucky instead of (being elsewhere), she would know the facts. That’s when she really got riled up.”
Wilson also served on the school board in District 1 a decade ago, leaving the board in 2004. He was then appointed to fill Samantha Ping’s vacated seat in January of last year after Ping moved, but then had to defend that seat in an election against Brandon Cross — then do so again this year against Hyden. Now, Wilson gets to serve out a full four-year term. Altogether, he has 35 years of experience in the Pulaski County School System.
“Nobody bought me, I’m not obligated to anybody,” he said. “I just feel like (this board) will work together well. We’ll be looking at kids first. ... When you lose sight of the kids’ needs, you should just get out and go home.”
Citak, a former surgeon and current doctor in hospital administration, beat Bob Conley in a race between two individuals to fill Phillip Wilson’s seat in District 5. Watching the numbers roll in early Tuesday night, Citak said that he was “humbled” by the support, which had him winning 2,474 votes to 1,279, or 66 percent to 34 percent.
Citak recently had a son graduate from Southwestern High School and has a daughter there now. He said that this is his first time running for any sort of political position.
“I really wanted to be an involved parent,” he said. “I wanted to be part of the system that would help provide education to the future of out county. I’m so excited to be a part of this.”