The York County legislative delegation Monday night elected Sharon Bynum to serve as the representative from the 16th Circuit on the South Carolina State Board of Education.
Bynum, who got seven votes, accounting for 62.41 percent of York County’s population, was one of three candidates for the position, which alternates between a York County representative and a Union Couinty representative every four years.
Bynum beat out Shirley Harris and Kathy Sullivan, who received three and two votes, respectively, for 25.7 percent and 11.2 percent of the population.
Before Monday’s voting, each candidate was given the opportunity to address the legislative delegates in attendance at the county council chambers in York .
Bynum emphasized her experience serving on the Charlotte Mecklenburg school board for 10 years.
Harris, who recently finished serving 16 years on the York school board, talked about her 31 years in public education as an elementary teacher, librarian, board member and now, an adult education teacher.
Sullivan, who serves on the board of directors of a small private Christian school in Rock Hill, devoted the majority of her time to speaking against the Common Core State Standards, which were repealed in South Carolina earlier this year.
York school leaders stood up to voice their support for Harris.
“Ms. Harris understands the value of partnerships and how educational institutions can work together for the betterment of our children,” said Vernon Prosser, York schools superintendent.
Many community members stood up to speak for Sullivan, praising her intelligence and responsibility, as shown by her career as an airline pilot and dedication to improving education and defeating Common Core.
Sullivan was the “center of a firestorm” in recent weeks, said state Rep. Ralph Norman, R-Rock Hill, kicked off by chairman Patrick White and the Fort Mill school board, who said she was anti-public education, among other things. White was not present at Monday night’s meeting.
No one spoke for Bynum, who won by a considerable margin.
After the vote, Bynum said she was delighted to be able to serve on the state board.
“I’m a little overwhelmed, but so pleased,” Bynum said.
She said she was looking forward to learning about the responsibilities a state board member holds and the issues the board faces before her first meeting next month.
Of the 13 state legislators who represent constituents in York County, eight were present at the meeting and four voted by proxy. State Rep. Steve Moss, R-Blacksburg, was absent and did not vote by proxy. The members of the Union County delegation said they would support whoever York County’s delegates selected, said state Sen. Hayes, R-Rock Hill.
The vote was weighted by population.