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Cornell, Hekimian and McCord prevail in Columbia Association elections

By Luke Lavoie, llavoie@tribune.com

1:29 AM EDT, April 21, 2013

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Two of the most experienced Columbia Association board members were reelected Saturday to the Columbia Council, while residents of Columbia's oldest village selected a new representative.

Incumbents Alex Hekimian and Michael Cornell will continue representing Oakland Mills and River Hill, respectively. In Wilde Lake, current village board member Nancy McCord defeated incumbent Regina Clay.

The 10th and final member of the CA board will not be decided until the upcoming weekend. After the distribution of absentee ballots were delayed, the Long Reach village election committee voted last week to extend the deadline for absentee ballots to April 26 and added April 27 as a second election day. Incumbent Ed Coleman is facing Russell Swatek.

In the three uncontested races, current board members Tom Coale, of Dorsey's Search, and Gregg Schwind, of Hickory Ridge, will continue serving, while Kings Contrivance village board member Brian Dunn is the successor of current CA board chair Shari Zaret. Coale and Dunn will serve two-year terms; Schwind's term is one year.

"I'm flabbergasted by the support I received," said McCord, who defeated Clay by 13 votes. "I didn't expect to win, and I certainly didn't expect to have as many votes as I had."

McCord, 66, said she hopes to increase communication between the CA board and the village during her one-year term.

"I feel there has been a negative sense surrounding communication," McCord said. "We need to work together and make it a more positive endeavor than it has been."

Cornell, who was elected to his fourth consecutive term, said his 111-41 victory over Clayborne Chavers is a vote of confidence for the entire CA board.

"It shows people are pretty happy with Columbia and the direction we are moving in," said Cornell, 54. "I look at it more globally."

Cornell was elected to a two-year term.

In Oakland Mills, Hekimian was elected to his sixth consecutive one-year term by defeating current board member Julia McCready, 329-182.

There were two contested village races.  Joel Broida, Lynn Foehrkolb and Lee Richardson were elected to seats on the Town Center board, while the results for Hickory Ridge have not been released.

On Thursday, May 2, CA will hold an orientation for new board members. On May 9, the Columbia Council will have its annual meeting, where it elects the 10 council representatives to the CA board.