Pam Hemminger, elected mayor of Chapel Hill in 2015, will be running for reelection in November. Staff writer Montana Gramer asked her about town politics, sports and restaurants.
The Daily Tar Heel: Are you originally from Chapel Hill?
Pam Hemminger: No, but I’ve been here 30 years. My husband is a professor at UNC. We met at Vanderbilt.
DTH: As the mayor of Chapel Hill, what is your most important priority?
PH: Making sure that we continue to be a place for everyone. I’d like to think of Chapel Hill as being that progressive, creative, and inclusive place.
DTH: In your opinion, what has been your most defining accomplishment as mayor?
PH: Food for the Summer. Feeding our kids over the summer who are on free or reduced lunch, who don’t have access to the meals during the summer months. This is our second year.
DTH: Are you planning on running for reelection?
PH: Yes, absolutely. It’s every two years, and every city in North Carolina is different. Isn’t that funny? I have to file in July to run in November.
DTH: What platform will you be running on?
PH: I’m continuing to help improve economic development for the town and then affordable housing. Those are the two biggest ones.
DTH: What advice do you have for incoming UNC first-years?
PH: Get out in the community! See that Chapel Hill is a great place, not just on campus, but out in the community. Get out and see what there is to see. We get a lot of volunteers from campus and they find it rewarding and we find it very rewarding. There’s a lot to do and see just in Chapel Hill the town, along with the University.
DTH: Where is your favorite place to eat in Chapel Hill?
PH: [Laughs] Oooh, my favorite place to eat? I will tell you I love the view from (Top of the Hill). I just think it’s fun. There’s just so many restaurants. It makes it fun because you don’t have to have a favorite, you can do a lot.
DTH: What were you doing the night of April 3, when UNC won the National Championship?
PH: [Laughs] I was in the Command Center watching it! We had to be prepared for the celebration. I talked with the troops, and we watched it from the Command Center so we have our fire brigades stations in places and our medical emergency and our police officers. And you know, it was a wonderful, exciting celebration. That’s because we had smart technology on the polls. We could be real time.
And if you’ll just put in there that we say welcome to the students! We love it when they come back. They bring wonderful energy. We’re thrilled to have them back every year, and it’s almost like the start of something really good. It’s like that new feeling, it’s like the start of the year, although it’s August. It’s good.
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