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The Daily Tar Heel

Few faces change on Carrboro Board of Aldermen

Jacquelyn Gist
Jacquelyn Gist is a candidate for the Carrboro Board of Aldermen. Photo courtesy of the town of Carrboro.

The Carrboro Board of Aldermen added one new face Tuesday night. 

Incumbents Jacquelyn Gist, Randee Haven-O’Donnell and Sammy Slade were all re-elected, alongside newcomer Barbara Foushee. This is the first time Foushee has run for office. She won around 25.33 percent of the vote, according to unofficial results from Orange County precincts.

Foushee held an election party at Hickory Tavern in Carrboro on Tuesday night, surrounded by friends and family. 

“I’m just really excited for the turnout and support tonight, and just the way the community has supported me over the course of my campaign,” she said.

As adviser of the UNC undergraduate chapter of the Zeta Phi Beta sorority, she said the support of her sorority sisters and students meant a lot to her. One such presence at Hickory was UNC professor Deborah Stroman.

Stroman is also a member of Zeta Phi Beta sorority and said she connected with Foushee when they met a few years ago because of the issues and communities Foushee advocates for.

“She’s a leader in our local NAACP and community issues, bringing everybody, all nationalities and ethnicities together,” she said. “Whenever anybody operates in that space, I’m there.”

According to unofficial results from Orange County precincts, Gist received 23.21 percent of the vote and Haven-O’Donnell received 22.5 percent. 

Gist was first elected to the Board of Aldermen in 1989. Her re-election means she will serve at least 32 years in office. Gist said despite her experience, she worries every time she has to campaign.

“I never assume I’m going to win. I’m always very thankful and surprised,” she said. “It’s kind of affirming. So I’m very grateful that the people of Carrboro are showing that once again they think it’s okay for me to help them.”

Gist said she is a shy extrovert and campaigning can be difficult for her, but she credited Haven-O’Donnell with helping her feel more comfortable and confident. The two held a joint election night party to watch results at the home of a mutual close friend, Melva Okun.

Haven-O’Donnell has served three terms on the board. She said being re-elected for a fourth term is exciting because it shows that her constituents trust and believe in her ability to represent them.

“I believe that they feel that the work that I do restores a sense of trust in government, and in these times that is one of the most important jobs I can have, is to be able to restore (the) sense of wanting to participate in government and that people in government can be trusted and that they will listen to what you have to say, they will try and work with you, we’re going to create solutions together,” she said.

Paul Clark was the only candidate who was not elected. He received 7.16 percent of the vote, and less than half of a percent of voters wrote in candidates, according to unofficial results. 

Results for Carrboro mayoral and Aldermen elections were called around 9 p.m. Tuesday. At Hickory Tavern, cheers and laughter erupted as the crowd realized Foushee had won the majority of the vote.

“My platform is based on a diverse civic participation and leadership and I’m just very proud of the campaign that I have run,” Foushee said.

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