Three women now on Town Council

Published 12:59 am Wednesday, May 2, 2018

By Diana McFarland

Managing editor

For the first time, Smithfield will have three women setting policy for the town. 

Beth Haywood and Valerie Butler were elected to the Smithfield Town Council Tuesday, and will join Council member Denise Tynes to narrow the gender balance to three women and four men. 

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Mayor Carter Williams was elected to another term, earning the most votes with 589 out of 962 voters. {mprestriction ids=”1,2,3,4,5,6″}

Williams was followed by Haywood with 525 votes, Butler with 522 votes and Wayne Hall with 504, according to unofficial results posted by the Isle of Wight Registrar’s Office. 

In addition to Tynes, other current Council members are Randy Pack and Mike Smith.

“If you want a job done, put a woman in the position,” said Butler, adding, “Now the real work begins.”

Failing to garner enough support was Bill Davidson and Chris Torre, with 470 and 426 votes, respectively. There were 14 write-in candidates.

Efforts to reach Haywood and Williams were unsuccessful.

Hall was tired after a long day at the polls, but felt good about his victory.

“I just want to continue what I’ve been doing for the last three or four months, only this time it’ll be in an official capacity. I am looking forward to working with the council and bringing the town where it needs to go,” he said.

In all, 962 residents turned out to vote — 15 percent of the total 6,207 voters in the precinct. 

The turnout this year surpasses a previous record in 2014, when 950 residents cast ballots. That was the year that the Town Council decided against moving the election to November, and one council member mounted a telephone campaign to get out the vote to prove that May elections are effective. 

The next town election in 2016 was the opposite, with little more than 100 residents casting a vote in an uncontested race.

Williams has served a total of 14 years on Town Council and is a retired contractor. 

Haywood is a reading specialist in Hampton, Butler is a retired banker and Hall is a retired law enforcement officer. 

The new Town Council is facing several large and expensive infrastructure issues, such as sewer and water line replacements and possible town pump station upgrades. 

The new Council has its first meeting July 10.   {/mprestriction}