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Payne, Zornes capture Ironton school board seats

IRONTON — Voters in Ironton overwhelmingly elected A. Burton Payne and Jay Zornes to a pair of open seats on the Ironton Board of Education, according to unofficial results from the Lawrence County Board of Elections.

With their election Tuesday, Payne and Zornes are set to replace the seats on the five-member governing body that were vacated by Jerry Rowe and Bob Vaughn who both decided not to seek re-election.

Payne and Zornes were challenged in the election by retired educators Jerry Brownstead and Daniel Hartwig. Each seat carries a four-year term.

According to unofficial results, Payne garnered 1,613 votes with Zornes grabbing 1,375 votes. Hartwig had 815 votes while Brownstead’s total equaled 578 votes.

Payne, a fixture in Lawrence County Republican politics for more than 40 years including stints as county commissioner and coroner said he is excited to be part of the district’s new schools.

“I will try to do the best job I can,” Payne said. “I have no special projects at this time, but I wanted to be a part of the new schools.”

Zornes, who co-owns Ironton-based Creative Financial Solutions and is involved in many civic and educational volunteer efforts, said his election was humbling.

“I’m happy to win. It’s kind of humbling that the citizens of Ironton would put their trust in me,” Zornes said. “We worked hard and it’s very rewarding.”

With their election, Payne and Zornes will now join current board members Tim Johnson, Robert Pleasant, Jr. and John Wolfe whose seats were not up for re-election in 2009.