By Alyssa Schnugg
On Tuesday, Oxford residents living in Ward 4 said “Yes” to Kesha Howell-Atkinson being their new representative on the Oxford Board of Aldermen and continuing the work of her father, the late Ulysses “Coach” Howell, who served as aldermen for 26 years before his death in May.
With only 92 people casting a vote, 72 voted for Howell-Atkinson, while 20 cast their vote for her opponent, Arnold Pegues.
A physical education teacher and coach at Oxford Middle School, Howell-Atkinson will be sworn in at the next Board of Aldermen meeting on July 16. She will serve as aldermen for the remainder of her father’s term until 2021.
Earlier this week, Howell-Atkinson said she has four main goals to accomplish as aldermen.
“Goal one would be for me to be visible and accessible across the community to keep citizens informed, especially so in Ward 4,” she said. “Goal two would be for me to be a good listener able to convey the concerns and desires of citizens. Goal three would be for me to be an advocate and catalyst to foster more positive growth in Oxford. My fourth goal would be to focus on additional and enhanced recreational programs for the youth of our community.”
“Ward 4 is Oxford’s Best example of the wonderful diversity of our community. I am proud of my ward. I grew up in this community and now serve as a teacher, coach, and as an active community volunteer. I will champion the needs of our community and will fight to ensure all citizens will be treated with respect and fairness.”
Howell-Atkinson is married to Brandon Atkinson and has a 6-year-old son in Bramlett Elementary.
Pegues ran twice against Howell and now against his daughter. He said he was more disappointed in the low voter turnout than losing.
“I wish her good luck,” he said of Howell-Atkinson. “I just wished more people would get involved in the process.”
Pegues said he believes the construction at the intersection of Sisk Avenue and Highway 7 might have kept some people away.