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Gina Roletto has a strong lead in the race for the Ward 3, Position B, seat on the Hillsboro City Council, initial results show.

COURTESY PHOTO: - Gina RolettoGina Roletto appears to have won the race for the Hillsboro City Council's Ward 3, Position B, seat with 34% of the vote, unofficial voting results Wednesday morning, Nov. 4, show.

Five other candidates in the heavily contested election, Alexander Flores, Thomas Flaherty, Kimberly Culbertson, Katherine Rhee and John Kinsky, have 16%, 15%, 14%, 10% and 10% of the vote, respectively.

Roletto is poised to replace City Council President Fred Nachtigal, who is term-limited, and serve a four-year term.

The City Council is divided into three geographic regions with two city councilors from each as well as the mayor. Candidates run for their region but represent the entire city if elected. Each ward includes approximately 33,000 residents.

Ward 3 covers the city's downtown up to Glencoe High School and south along Tualatin Valley Highway to Witch Hazel.

Mayor Steve Callaway, City Councilor Rick Van Beveren and City Councilor Anthony Martin are poised to win re-election to their seats, as no one else filed to run against the three incumbents. Van Beveren and Martin represent wards 1 and 2, respectively.

Seeing the initial results Tuesday evening, Roletto said she was excited to see the support from Hillsboro voters.

"It's feeling amazing because this is so not about me," said Roletto, who works as an assistant principal at Bridger K-8 School in Southeast Portland. "This is about what people need right now and I'm just glad I'm the one that they chose to, kind of, move forward during this time."

She said having five other candidates in the race initially made her nervous but she stayed focused on her goals for the city.

Roletto said the first reason why she wanted to run was to give back to a city that has been good to her and fer family.

"The other reason to keep going was for representation on the City Council to more reflect who we are as Hillsboro," she said. "I think throughout my career as an educator and school administrator, I think back on it, and a lot of the time I think I do what I do because of representation so that my three kids grow up seeing people of color in positions of leadership as normal."

Roletto has said that the most important issue to tackle in the city is putting the city's recently adopted equity statement into practice.

"We've got to be clear on what we mean by that," she said. "There's a lot of hard conversations ahead of us that I don't think people are anticipating — not in a contentious way but in a reflective way."

Roletto said constituents were calling to ask her questions about her opinions right up until election day, and she was happy to answer them.

"This whole process has been so humbling to have people step up for you," Roletto said. "Just a huge, huge thank you to everyone and anyone that had any part in helping move this forward."

Editor's note: This story has been updated with additional votes counted Wednesday morning.

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