The race for the Carrboro Board of Aldermen’s soon-to-be vacated seat has begun.
Susan Romaine, a resident of Lake Hogan Farms for the past 15 years, has declared her candidacy after Board of Aldermen member Bethany Chaney decided not to run for re-election.
Romaine moved to Carrboro after a falling in love with the area during visiting her nephew at UNC in the spring. Since relocating from Alexandria, Virginia, Romaine has served as vice chairperson of the Orange County Democratic Party. She played a critical role in the founding of both PORCH, a grassroots hunger relief organization, and Orange County Living Wage, which promotes and certifies employers that pay a living wage.
Romaine said she’s running because of her community involvement and experience with local organizations.
“I would love to be able to bring some of these connections to the Board and use those connections to start looking for ways that we can foster more public–private–nonprofit collaborations,” she said. “Collaborations that will really benefit low and moderate income families in the community as well as locally owned small business.”
Romaine founded PORCH in 2010 with two friends from Lake Hogan Farms and has remained heavily involved in the organization as it continues to grow. Other branches of PORCH have started in Raleigh, Durham, Charlotte and Hillsborough.
“We have 150 neighborhoods participating in monthly food drives,” she said. “We’ve provided about $2.3 million in hunger relief.”
Romaine is also running to bring more northern Carrboro representation to the board.
“There’s a lot going on over in our area,” she said. “Right behind Lake Hogan Farms, there’s going to be a lot of development in the coming years in what’s called the northern transition area.”
Matt Hughes, former chairperson of the Orange County Democratic Party, said he always enjoys working with Susan.
“She’s a problem solver,” he said. “She is someone who jumps into anything with both feet.”
Hughes said he is excited for Romaine’s candidacy because of her passion for helping the community.
“One of the things that I think makes her a great person out in the community is that she’s very likeable, very approachable,” he said. “And I think that’s something that you have to have going for you.”
Romaine said the biggest issue facing Carrboro is affordability. She hopes to make the town more affordable for both small businesses and low to moderate income families through promoting affordable housing and daycare, a living wage and public transportation.
“That is very much going to be a focus,” she said. “Trying to maintain an affordable Carrboro, which will allow us to maintain a rich, diverse Carrboro as well.”
Romaine said her heart and soul are with the community organizations she works with and plans to stay involved if elected.
“Being an alderman would be an opportunity to take all of my experience with these organizations and try to make contributions on the broader scale,” she said.
Romaine said she plans to launch her campaign website by the end of April.
“I’m looking forward to hearing more and more from people in the community about what their concerns are,” she said.
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