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The Daily Tar Heel

County commissioners-elect want change


Penny Rich, Current Chapel Hill Town Council member and county commissioner nominee.

Penny Rich, a Chapel Hill Town Council member and Mark Dorosin, a managing attorney at the UNC Center for Civil Rights, both won the Democratic primary May 8 for the Orange County Board of Commissioners in District 1.

Renee Price re-won her seat in District 2 by receiving nearly 67 percent of the votes in the primary.

No Republican candidates ran for the seats, so Rich, who won 33 percent of the vote, and Dorosin, who won nearly 36 percent, will run unopposed in the November general election.

Penny Rich

Rich said her campaign began to take form after several people asked her to run for county commissioner.

“When a lot of people start calling you and saying you should run, you give it a second thought,” she said.

Her top priority if elected would be to re-establish communication between the board and local councils, including the Chapel Hill Town Council.

“I just didn’t feel like we had a strong enough voice,” she said. “I think we had a breakdown in communications, and I don’t think the county even realizes it.”

“As governmental elected bodies, we are not independent of each other, even though we think we are,” she said.

Rich said she also wanted to lessen the divide between rural and urban residents in Orange County and would work to find an agreement between the county and Chapel Hill on solid waste management.

Rich said she will resign from her seat on town council in November, if elected.

Mark Dorosin

Dorosin said he decided to run for a commissioner’s seat after working for years with local civil rights activists.

“For all the work that the community advocates have been doing on the activist side of the table, it would be potentially incredibly powerful to have a voice on the policy side,” he said.

Dorosin said he wanted to take the values he holds as a civil rights lawyer and the values of Orange County and implement them directly into the policy making process.

“Let’s be talking about things at the forefront when we’re making policy,” he said. “Rather than as an afterthought.”

One of Dorosin’s first priorities if elected will be to ensure that residents of the Rogers-Eubanks neighborhood receive reparations for health and other issues linked to living near the county’s landfill.

He said he also wants the county to focus on bringing in new business. One of his ideas is to begin a county fair, celebrating local agriculture, artisans, music and food.

He said a fair would show others in the state what makes Orange County so special.

“I’ve had a lot of people both in the campaign and since say they’re really excited about it.”

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