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Jason Baker files to run for Chapel Hill Town Council seat

Photo: Jason Baker files to run for Chapel Hill Town Council seat (Erin Hull)

After growing up in the mountains of North Carolina, Jason Baker enjoys hiking once a week to explore the landscapes of Orange County.

In the future, Baker has his eyes set on getting more than fresh air from the area he has grown to love.

Following an unsuccessful bid in 2005, Baker is again running for a seat on the Chapel Hill Town Council.

According to the Orange County Board of Elections website as of Wednesday morning, Baker will run against Lee Storrow, Laney Dale, Augustus Cho and Jon Dehart.

Current council member Donna Bell has also announced that she will run for another term.

As third vice chairman of the Orange County Democratic Party, a member of the Chapel Hill planning board and a member of the Orange-Chatham Sierra Club, Baker is confident he can use his experience to better the town.

“I think a lot of times in Chapel Hill politics people talk a lot about sustainability issues,” Baker said. “And of the candidates who have declared so far, I’m really the only one who has a background working with both environmental organizations as well as working with economic development.”

Baker, who moved to Chapel Hill nine years ago to attend UNC, works as Weaver Street Market’s public relations and outreach coordinator and is currently working with other local businesses to start a Business Alliance for Local Living Economies.

“I’m a big proponent of having a locally owned, locally centered economy that’s really built by businesses that are located totally within the community,” he said.

This will be Baker’s fourth year on the planning board and fellow member John Ager said he believes Baker’s resume will help him face Chapel Hill’s forthcoming development problems.

“He seems prepared to do a fair amount of homework and he seems to have really thought fairly, deeply and clearly about some of the issues facing the town,” he said.

In addition to using “good old-fashioned grass roots campaigning,” Baker is a Voter-Owned candidate, which means he will only accept donations between $5 and $20 from individuals during his campaign.

Matt Hughes, first vice chairman of the Orange County Democratic Party, said he thinks Baker is extremely passionate about local issues.

“He is someone who is very well in tune with sustainability and planning and tackling the environmental and developmental issues that Chapel Hill faces,” he said.

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