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Wednesday October 5th

Chilton vies for Kinnaird Senate seat

The retiring Carrboro mayor announced his intent Wednesday.

	<p>Mark Chilton</p>
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Mark Chilton

Carrboro Mayor Mark Chilton will apply for the vacated N.C. Senate seat that Sen. Ellie Kinnaird, D-Orange, left Monday.

Chilton would be the second Carrboro mayor to go on to represent the county at the Senate level. Kinnaird was elected mayor of Carrboro in 1987 and served four terms in the position.

Earlier this summer, Chilton did not file to run for re-election as mayor of Carrboro — a position he has held since 2005. Alderman Randee Haven-O’Donnell said she believes the town fosters quality leadership.

“Carrboro is a great incubator of leadership because there is a creative mindset in Carrboro that seeks to problem-solve,” she said.

Chilton said his decision was not spontaneous and he saw the open seat as a chance to spark change.

“I really see this appointment as an opportunity to put forward someone who can help lead in creating change in the North Carolina Senate, and by that I mean electoral change,” said Chilton.

“I have been very involved in local politics and political strategy for a long time, and I feel like I could help to change the balance of power and move us closer to having Democrats be in control of at least the state Senate.”

Chilton said he’s interested in environmental protection, public education and protecting reproductive rights. While he has a lot of changes in mind, he said he knows getting results will not be an easy process in the Republican-controlled N.C. General Assembly.

“It will be very difficult for anybody to make a lot of changes — or maybe any changes — on any of those issues in the next session of legislature,” Chilton said.

But Kinnaird said she had wanted a woman to fill her seat.

“There’s so few women in the legislature,” she said. “I’m disappointed that Mark has come out — I understand it, but I feel like a woman should (take my spot).”

Haven-O’Donnell said she was hoping Chilton would be the one to fill the opening, though she knew Kinnaird wanted a woman.

“I don’t want to be gender-biased to assume that a woman need take her place,” Haven-O’Donnell said. “I want the strongest opposition leader to take the place. Mark immediately came to mind.”

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