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The Daily Tar Heel

Column: Doing my part

The OC Voice is a portion of the OC Report newsletter where local residents may have a platform to talk about local issues they care about. 

Tai Huynh is a UNC junior computer science major, and he's running for Chapel Hill Town Council this year.

Engaging all citizens in a community is integral to how local government works. With this belief in mind, I have devoted my college years to innovating in the civic engagement space, from collaborating with civic partners and developing engagement strategies to creating technology that closes the feedback loop for local government.

Through this work, I have noticed that three main policy issues urgently concern our town: affordable housing, environmental sustainability and inclusivity.

I am so proud to be a part of a community that prioritizes the human right to housing. It has been an honor advocating for affordable housing on the Housing Advisory Board. Important to this issue are the efforts to create affordable housing in our community. Additionally, we need to ensure that the bond money our citizens have entrusted to the Town is used effectively to secure affordable housing in Chapel Hill. To ensure the effective use of these funds, we need to develop a more rigorous evaluation process that measures and quantifies the impact of each bond dollar spent.

Since UNC takes up a lot of the Town’s geography, town-gown collaboration is essential if we are to become an environmentally sustainable community. The Town needs to get a stronger commitment from UNC administrators to collaborate in order to meet the sustainability goals we have set for our community, and it needs to work with UNC to explore how the cutting edge research being done by the University can be implemented across our community.

For so long, student and minority communities have been alienated from the processes used by our town to gather input, form policy and make decisions. It’s time to include them in a more meaningful way in conversations on issues that impact their daily lives. As a student of color, I want to bring together the diverse experiences and brainpower of our community in order to form and implement innovative policy solutions to our town’s most pressing problems. I want to motivate and inspire my peers to become more than just students, but members of this community. Chapel-Hill has given so much to us, and it is time for us to give back. We talk so much on our campus about social justice and bettering the world. Our opportunity to turn our idealism into reality is just a few blocks away on M.L.K.

To do my part, I am running for Town Council of Chapel Hill.

If you live in Orange County and want to make your voice heard on something you care about locally, email  

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