The Temple Health and Bioscience District will hold its first contested election this November — despite having existed since 2003 and having the ability to tax residents of the district since 2009.

The race to fill four at-large board seats has drawn six people, including four incumbents.

In previous years, when one member of the board left, the other members would recommend someone to come in as a replacement.

Michael Norman, a member of the board who is running for reelection, said he was excited to see the district finally grow enough to have competition.

“Health care is by far the largest industry in the Temple community and is critical to the health of the greater Temple area,” Norman said. “As we navigate the difficulties of the COVID era, a healthy health care sector remains of paramount importance to Temple and Bell County as a whole. People should vote for this race and take an interest in supporting the Temple community’s health care industry by supporting a strong THBD.”

Norman, 47, is chief executive officer of the Atlanta-based bioscience company LivFul Inc. and has served on the board for the past five years.

Other incumbents seeking reelection are Brian Reinhardt, Tyler Johnson and Robert Cortes.

Cortes, chief executive officer and co-owner of Advanced LCM, said he was appointed in 2019 to fill an open seat and still feels he has work to do.

“My work has just begun,” Cortes said. “I would like to finish the work that has been started to create a Health Care and Bioscience ecosystem while incubating and accelerating Bioscience Comp- anies.”

The two challengers for the seats are Jason Locklin and Damir Nizamutdinov.

Nizamutdinov, 40, is the associate director of Neuroscience Institute and Baylor Scott & White Health, Central Division, and an assistant professor in the College of Medicine at Texas A&M Health Science Center. If elected, Nizamutdinov would be the only doctor on the district’s board.

Nizamutdinov, who was born in Uzbekistan but now lives in Temple, said he believes he can bring a new perspective to the board.

“I want to be elected to serve people because I believe we can do better for our community with my biomedical background and expertise added to the table,” Nizamutdinov said. “I was fortunate to serve and represent different groups of people in my life with a goal to do my best to make things better than before me.”

Locklin, 44, is a professor of biology and a department chair at Temple College. He also serves as the managing editor of The Texas Journal of Science, the research journal of the Texas Academy of Science.

Locklin said he wants to be elected to help support the growth of local scientific research and businesses looking to move into the area.

“I’m a product of Temple — having grown up here, graduated from the Temple Independent School District and Temple College systems, and now live here today where I educate the next generation of our Temple students,” Locklin said. “Being a trained scientist, I’m hoping to bring oversight to the district’s business through a scientific lens, support bioscience research and education endeavors that impact Temple, facilitate bioscience economic development in our city, and, frankly, to be a strong force for science on the board.”

Both Tyler Johnson and Brian Reinhardt did not respond to the Telegram by press time.