Barry Jacobs unexpectedly withdrew from the Orange County Board of Commissioners race on Feb. 23.
“I had a gut reaction that it was time to do it,” Jacobs said. “I’m usually a person that operates based on careful thought, so when I had a strong emotional reaction, I was fascinated. I thought maybe I should listen. I enjoy the work, but I want to do some other things while I’m still on as opposed to under the planet.”
Jacobs has served on the Orange County Board of Commissioners for the last 20 years working to protect open spaces, preserve agriculture and build up municipalities. He said he has had a mission to make government an institution that helps people achieve change, rather than tell them what they can’t do.
The Orange County Agricultural summit was proposed by Jacobs, and to this day promotes local agricultural economics. He considers his work on the Lands Legacy Program, which protects natural areas in the county, as one of his crowning achievements during his time on the board.
Jacobs isn't sure about his future plans, but he knows it'll involve writing. He currently writes a weekly sports column for the News & Observer and has had several books published. In the future, he would like to experiment with fiction.