Political newcomer Mindy Alvarado unseated incumbent Ward 4 Commissioner Frankie Ballard in the Erwin election Tuesday night, garnering 64 votes compared to Ballard’s 52, according to unofficial election results.
Melinda “Mindy” Alvarado grew up in Erwin. Now she gets to serve her hometown.
Although J. Erin Harrington was also on the ballot for the Ward 4 seat and received 2 votes, she told The Daily Record she was stepping down from the race to support Alvarado’s run for the same seat last month.
“I definitely feel humbled,” Alvarado said. “I’m excited for the future of Erwin. I look forward to some great changes and being more involved.”
With the race over, Alvarado said running for office proved to be a learning experience and a chance to meet her community on a more personal level.
“Going door to door I got to know so many people that we lived our whole lives with,” said Alvarado. “We got a chance to connect with people we didn’t know and we learned true hometown pride and why we’re proud to be from Erwin.”
The experience of running for office helped Alvarado reaffirm why she chooses to call Erwin home and the difference she plans to make with her newly elected position. Attracting new business is high on her priority list.
“It really cemented that,” Alvarado said of her love for her community. “The number one thing we really need is more businesses. We need more money coming into Erwin in order to make some of the repairs that are really needed. We really need to capitalize on our stretch of [U.S. Highway] 421 and we have some exciting things coming.”
While Alvarado is focused on big ticket items, she also has smaller projects she’d like to see tackled such as infrastructure.
“I would love to see sidewalks in some residential areas that young families can use,” Alvarado said. “I’d like to see new things at parks for the kids. Just revitalize Erwin a little bit. I was born and raised in Erwin and my family is from here. The older I got, it’s one of those things that you can’t complain about it unless you’re willing to go in there and change it yourself.”
Alvarado credits her six years on the planning board as helping her prepare for a new role in civil service.
“It has been a great experience,” said Alvarado. “I’ve learned a whole lot. This just seemed like the next step if I wanted to be involved in my community and make a difference.”
Incumbent Commissioner Ricky Blackmon retained his Ward 2 seat with 16 votes as did fellow incumbent Commissioner Billy Turnage in Ward 6 with 47 votes. Both incumbents were running unopposed to keep their seats.
All results in Tuesday’s election are unofficial until the Harnett County Board of Elections conducts its final canvas on Oct. 14 at 11 a.m.
Candidates chosen in Tuesday’s election will take their Oath of Office during the Dec. 5 meeting in Erwin.