Bo Graham

David “Bo” Graham, left, accepts a gavel from Buddy Mincey. Graham was voted the new Livingston Parish School Board president during the Board’s meeting on Thursday, Jan. 9, 2020.

LIVINGSTON -- The Livingston Parish School Board has a new president.

David “Bo” Graham, representative for District 7, was named the new president during the School Board’s first meeting of the New Year on Thursday, Jan. 9.

Graham replaces outgoing School Board President Buddy Mincey, who officially relinquished his seat as he moves into a role as state representative for District 71. Jan Benton, of District 3, was voted Graham’s replacement as School Board vice president.

“I’m humbled and thankful, but most importantly, I’m excited for the new role,” Graham said. “I’m thankful for the board for having the confidence in me to elect me as president this year. I just hope to continue what has been done in the past with the board and the school system.”

Graham was nominated by Jeffery Cox, who was seconded by Brad Sharp. The board voted 8-0 for Graham to take Mincey's seat. Bradley Harris, of District 4, was absent from Thursday’s meeting. There were no other nominations.

“Congratulations, Mr. Graham,” Mincey said as he passed the gavel to his former School Board vice president.

Graham’s first order of business was election of the School Board’s new vice president. Benton, the lone nominee, received her nomination from Devin Gregoire, of District 9. The motion passed 8-0.

Following the meeting, Graham thanked the board believing he was the man for the job that was held by Mincey for the last year.

“I just feel like I’m stepping into position that has been so solid in the last few years,” said Graham, 66. “I’ve always had a desire to serve the public, and I’ve always had an interest in schools and the school system.

“My main plan is to continue to go forward with what we’ve got going now and try to improve. We have a good school system now, but there’s always room for improvement.”

A lifelong resident of Livingston Parish, Graham was a member of the Walker High Class of 1972. After attending Southeastern Louisiana University, he landed a job at the U.S. Postal Service, where he spent 33 years before retiring as a postal manager 10 years ago. In his position, Graham was tasked with maintaining databases.

Graham first came to the School Board in 2017, when he took the District 7 seat that was vacated when Jimmy Watson was voted mayor of Walker. He was elected Mincey’s vice president last January.

“It’s gonna be a change for me, but I really feel like it’s something I can handle, and I appreciate the board putting their confidence in me for the next year,” Graham said.

For Graham’s predecessor, it was time to say goodbye to a School Board he has been a member of for the last 13 years.

With his three daughters and wife, Michelle, present, Mincey said he’ll miss the School Board and the “Livingston Parish Public Schools system family.” Mincey, who took 45 percent of the vote in the primary, won the house seat in the November runoff with 77 percent of the vote, or 9,559 votes, on 48.1 percent turnout - which was four percent more folks visiting the polls than in the primary election.

“It is bittersweet,” Mincey said. “I am remorseful for leaving the school system, because this has been my passion for so long. I can tell you I have given it everything I have.”

Before the board officially accepted his resignation, Mincey thanked the board members and challenged them to “continue moving forward.”

“Always keep the kids first,” said Mincey, who received a long applause near the end of Thursday’s meeting. “If you do those things, we will continue to be successful. It has truly been my honor.”

Superintendent Joe Murphy also thanked Mincey for his years of service.

“Mr Mincey, thank you for everything you’ve done in your career to help this school system,” Murphy said. “We are very appreciative of that, and we know you’ll continue that as our state representative.”

Mincey’s resignation leaves an open spot for District 5, which covers parts of Denham Springs. The board didn’t take any nominations for the vacated position at Thursday’s meeting, but it’s expected members will vote at the next meeting on Thursday, Jan. 23.

That interim board member will serve in the position until the November election.

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