SPRINGFIELD — Robert Grant and Lynn Anderson's battle for a spot on the Effingham County Board of Education is far from heated.
Some might even call it friendly after Thursday's political forum at the Effingham County Chamber of Commerce.
Grant and Anderson, candidates for the District 1 seat, occasionally discussed working together during the event that was streamed live on Facebook. They are set to square off in a July 24 runoff after emerging from a three-candidate primary.
On May 22, Grant edged Anderson 442-420. Nancy Floyd garnered 158 votes despite stating previously that she would be unable to serve because of health concerns.
Anderson, a 49-year-old office manager for a vascular surgeon in Savannah, is the mother of three children. Two of them advanced through Effingham County schools.
"I like to stay busy, so I'm looking forward to possibly serving on the board and staying even busier," she said during her opening statement.
During his introductory remarks, Grant, the incumbent, pointed to the responsibility of the post, specifically student safety, educational achievement and commanding an annual budget of more than $100 million. He is the parent of two Effingham County students.
"I love the job of public service and I love what I do, and I've done my best and given it one hundred percent during the last four years in my efforts as a school board member," he said.
Grant, who has lived in the area for nearly 15 years, touted his experience as the reason to vote for him. The Junior Achievement development director has a degree in secondary education and is a former high school social studies teacher.
He also served as Marlow Elementary School's PTO president for seven years and was a founding board member of the Effingham YMCA.
"... it was that community involvement which attracted me to the school board position and why people are reaching out to me to run for the school board in the first place," Grant said.
Anderson said she thinks being from Effingham County is an important asset to serve on the school board. She is an Effingham County High School graduate.
"To me, it is all about the kids," she said. "I wanted to get involved so that I could make sure that how I grew up in this county, and going through this system here, stays that way."
Grant believes Effingham County's explosive growth rate makes it unwise to cling too tightly to the past.
"In closing, our system is too important to treat this as a popularity contest," he said. "This is about who brings the most education experience to the table and leadership to the table, and I believe that Lynn and I probably both share the same values on lots of things.
"We probably see eye to eye on a lot of things and I wish we were in a different setting because I think we would make a great team working for something good."
Grant and Anderson agreed on most issues, including making student safety a top priority, that Superintendent Dr. Randy Shearouse possesses the attributes they covet in a school chief and supporting pay hikes for teachers.
The forum, which featured about a dozen questions, can be viewed in its entirety on the Facebook pages of the Effingham Chamber of Commerce and Effingham Herald (facebook.com/EffinghamChamber/videos/1730103373748348/UzpfSTczMzQ3MjI3Mjk5OjEwMTU2NTA2NjgzODQyMzAw/).