Clarkston voters made history on Nov. 5 when they elected a former refugee to their City Council.
The city, which is home to thousands of refugees, elected Ahmed Hassan from Somalia to one of three vacant seats on the council.
Hassan was one of three refugees who ran for office for the first time in the city, which is home to people from more than 50 countries.
He has an M.B.A. in finance from Mercer University’s Stetson School of Business and a master’s in accounting and financial management from Keller Graduate School of Business.
Hassan, one of three top vote-getters in the five-way race, got 19.6 percent. Incumbent Dean Moore retained his seat with 22.8 percent, and Robert Hogan took the third seat with 22.3 percent.
Clarkston also elected a new mayor. Two-year city resident Ted Terry defeated incumbent Mayor Emanuel Ransom, winning 52.7 percent of the votes.
Ransom finished third in the three-way race with 18.9 percent.
Ibrahim Sufi, a former refugee, was the first refugee to run for mayor. He got 28.2 percent.
Terry said Thursday that he is ready to go to work.
“It’s time to mend fences and rebuild bridges,” he said, adding that he offered the hand of friendship to his opponents and invited them to work with him.
During the election campaign, Terry said he knocked on more than 1,000 doors and that all the ideas he talked about came from the people he talked with.
“This was truly a grass-roots effort,” he said. “My job will be to represent all the people of Clarkston.”
Terry said he wants to make sure that residents feel more involved in the operations of the city.
“The mayor and the City Council can’t do it all by themselves,” he said. “We need the residents to be involved.”
Terry, who has a degree in food science and human nutrition, brings to the job a decade of experience working in the public service sector. He has a background in nonprofit consulting for organizations such as the Sierra Club, Human Rights Campaign and Environment Georgia and campaign organizing and consulting for state representatives, state senators, county commissioners, school board members, local officials and a U.S. congressman.
Voters choose annexation
Voters in Chamblee approved the annexation of the Dresden East area into the city with 61 percent of the votes.
The approval brings 11,000 Dresden East area residents into the city of Chamblee.
In other city elections, Avondale Estates’ City Commission will have two new commissioners. In the four-way City Commission race, Terry Giager and Randy Beebe won with 33 percent and 25.5 percent, respectively.
In Decatur City Commission races, incumbents Fred Boykin and Patricia Garrett retained their seats with landslide victories. Boykin kept his District 1 seat with 96.8 percent, and Garrett won with 97.2 percent.
In a Decatur School Board race, Lewis Jones won the District 1 seat with 52.4 percent.
In Stone Mountain, Mayor Patricia Wheeler beat back a challenge from former City Councilman Cyril Mungal to retain the office with 52.4 percent. For the Post 5 council seat, incumbent Steve Higgins won re-election with 63.5 percent, and Andrea Redmond took the Post 6 council seat with 54.2 percent. Steve Wells won the Post 2 council seat with 61.8 percent.
In the four-way race for Pine Lake City Council, George Chidi and Erika Brown won with 31.3 percent 30.5 percent, respectively.
In Chamblee, incumbent Mayor Eric Clarkson retained his seat with 90.6 percent of the vote, while Brian Mock defeated incumbent Scott Taylor for the at-large council seat.
In Dunwoody, District 1 incumbent Denis Shortal retained his council seat with 57.7 percent, and in the three-way race for the District 2 seat, Jim Riticher won with 52.1 percent. Incumbent Doug Thompson reclaimed the District 3 seat with 50.8 percent.
In Doraville, newcomers Dawn O’Connor and Sharon Spangler unseated incumbent council members Brian Bates and Karen Pachuta. O’Connor won Bates’ District 2 seat with 59.6 percent, and Spangler took Pachuta’s District 3 seat with 57.1 percent.
Countywide, the voter turnout was 18.2 percent. Of 59,299 registered voters, 10,829 cast ballots. The DeKalb Elections Office was set to certify the election results on Nov.