She has a passion for agriculture and aims to continue that passion in the next stage of her life with her family and her newly purchased farmland.
Pelissier was born in Senegal, Africa, but grew up in New Jersey. She came to UNC in 1975 to pursue a Ph.D. in sociology. She started serving on the Orange County Board of Commissioners in December 2008 and has served as board chairperson.
Some of Pelissier’s accomplishments relate to transportation, specifically the quarter cent tax for economic development in schools and the half cent sales tax for transit, which Pelissier said has benefitted many students at UNC.
“These sales taxes have been very fruitful,” Pelissier said. “We’ve used the money, for example, in the Chapel Hill area for newly added bus routes on Saturdays and the evenings.”
While Pelissier’s passion for bettering the Orange County community is extensive, so is her passion for agriculture.
“We have several acres of well-established blueberry bushes, which are almost trees,” Pelissier said, who bought more than 90 acres of land in 2014.
“It’s an evolving project, and it’s why I decided not to run for reelection so I can completely immerse myself.”
Pelissier’s colleagues hold her in very high regard. Commissioner Penny Rich said Pelissier has been a champion of public transportation, particularly with the Durham-Orange Light Rail.
Rich said while she is unsure of who might fill commissioner Pelissier’s seat, it would be important that whoever does possesses the same leadership qualities that Pelissier demonstrated.
“I personally would like someone who has been following and understands issues and can align decision making with our goals of protecting and promoting the wellbeing of all residents, open governance, balanced economic growth, sustainable growth, protect the environment-parks and green spaces and advance technology,” Rich said.
Matt Hughes and Mark Marcoplos are among those who have officially declared their candidacy for Pelissier’s seat.
“I would love to continue her work on making sure that we are competitive in our region and state economically, and that we can continue to provide a good quality of life in Orange County,” said Hughes, who is a UNC alumnus.
While more and more people are announcing their candidacy for Pelissier’s seat, Pelissier is starting the next stage of her life by farming. She is assured the board will continue to be productive.
“I am confident that these initiatives will move forward with or without me.”