Brown wins Carrabelle commission seat

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She’ll be the youngest member of the Carrabelle city commission, and one of the most enthusiastic ones, as Sebrina Brown secured the seat in a citywide special election Tuesday.

With 112 votes, or about 51.6 percent of the vote, Brown, a 1998 graduate of Apalachicola High School, edged out Kenneth E. Griswold, who secured 88 votes, or about 40.6 percent. Donna L. Mathes finished third, with 17 votes, or about 7.8 percent.

“I am extremely excited. I’m just ready to get started, ready for Thursday’s meeting,” said Brown, “I’m so ecstatic. I’ve worked hard for this, and I’m ready to get to work.”

Brown, who has served on the city’s Community Redevelopment Authority since June, has been pursuing the seat ever since Commissioner Keith Walden resigned in early October from a four-year term. She will serve the remainder of that four-year term, which extends from March 2, 2021 through Nov. 5, 2024.

Brown extended an olive branch to Griswold. “Today Kenny and I spent the day together, he’s a really admirable guy. I hope we can work together in the future,” she said. “I haven’t met Donna.”

When she is sworn in Thursday evening, March 4, she will replace Commissioner Mel Kelly, who was selected to fill the seat about six weeks ago, right after the three candidates had qualified to run.

Kelly, a former mayor, made the most of her brief time on the commission, becoming an active part of deliberations and workshops, and even speaking out Tuesday morning at the county commission on the proposed revision of the county’s animal control rules.

“I respect all the commissioners and (Mayor) Brenda (La Paz),” Brown said Tuesday night. “I’m just excited to be able to work with them and learn more from them.”

Griswold made it close by securing 55 votes on Election Day, four fewer than Brown got that day. But she amassed a 53-33 lead in vote by mail to account for her victory.

There was no early voting, and in all, the turnout was 23.3 percent, as 217 of the city’s 930 registered voters cast ballots, roughly split between vote by mail and Election Day balloting.

Brown said she spent about $500 on her campaign, which included a $100 donation to Tax Collector Rick Watson’s Kids Tag Art program.

“I’d didn’t do door-knocking, I was trying to be safe with COVID,” she said.

Instead she relied mainly on flyers, signs, social media and telephone calls to campaign. “Some I did go visit,” Brown said.

She grew up in Carrabelle, part of the Thompson family from Apalachicola and the Brown family from Brickyard.

“As soon as I found out Mr. Walden was retiring, I talked to me my family and they said ‘You definitely can do this. I started talking to people.

“I would like to thank my family, and my friends who are like family, and all those in the community who have supported me and given me some great advice through this,” she said.

This article originally appeared on The Apalachicola Times: Brown wins Carrabelle commission seat

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