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Sunday May 16th

Your local guide to the 2019 Chapel Hill-Carrboro elections

<p>A student picks up a voting sticker after casting their vote at the Chapel of the Cross church at 304 E. Franklin Street on Oct. 23, 2018. The Chapel of the Cross serves as an early voter location close to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's campus.&nbsp;</p>
Buy Photos A student picks up a voting sticker after casting their vote at the Chapel of the Cross church at 304 E. Franklin Street on Oct. 23, 2018.

Local election season is here in Orange County, so we broke down exactly what you need to know about the candidates in each of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro races.

As of Oct. 27, just over 2,100 people voted in the county, and voting will continue through this week until Friday. Polls are open daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., but polls close one hour early on Halloween.

Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 5, and polls are open across the county from 7:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Find more information about each of the candidates.

Chapel Hill Mayor (One seat available)


Pam Hemminger is the incumbent mayor of Chapel Hill, originally elected in 2015. She previously served on the Board of Orange County Commissioners and Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools board, and she been active with various environmental groups like the Orange-Chatham Sierra Club. Advocating for environmental issues is one of her major platform components, and she wants the Town to continue implementing its Climate Action Plan in addition to addressing overlooked issues like stormwater. She believes the Town should continue to diversify its tax base, expand transit options like with BRT, and be an inclusive environment.




Josh Levenson is challenging Hemminger’s re-election bid and also making the environment a central focus of his campaign. He has volunteered in the community but has not held a local office before. He wants to expand the affordable housing bond and believes the Town should focus on dense development and green tiny homes as a way to address both housing and climate needs. He believes Chapel Hill should preserve and take advantage of its green spaces and expand public transportation options, advocating for commuter rail.







Chapel Hill Town Council (Four seats available)


Jessica Anderson is an incumbent, first elected in 2015. She has volunteered in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro school district and works in education policy. 

  • DTH: What should Chapel Hill look like 20 years from now?
  • Anderson: “I think Chapel Hill should retain all the great things and also continue to grow and be more exciting.”





Nancy Oates is an incumbent, first elected to the council in 2015, and worked as a freelance writer and volunteer in the community. 

DTH: What should Chapel Hill look like 20 years from now?

  • Oates: “I’d like to see more people feel welcome in Chapel Hill because ultimately we all just want to live a good life.”




Michael Parker is an incumbent, first elected in 2015, and has experience working in health care and served on the boards of organizations like the Chapel Hill chamber of commerce.

DTH: What should Chapel Hill look like 20 years from now?

Parker: “Greener, both physically and metaphorically. That it is well on its way to becoming carbon neutral.”





Tai Huynh is a UNC senior running for the first time. He has served on the Housing Advisory Board and volunteered with local organizations like the Refugee Community Partnership.

  • DTH: What should Chapel Hill look like 20 years from now?
  • Huynh: “Chapel Hill should have beautiful spaces marked with greenery, where people can walk, bike and public transit to any place in our community.”



Amy Ryan previously ran for town council in 2013 and has served on the town’s Community Design Commission, Sustainable Community Visioning Task Force, Central West Small Area Planning Process and the Planning Commission.

DTH: What should Chapel Hill look like 20 years from now?

  • Ryan: “20 years from now, I would like to see a Chapel Hill that managed to balance growth with preservation of the things that we value. I’d like to see new growth in the right place and at the right size that fits into the existing fabric of our community.”




Sue Hunter has served on the board of NEXT and volunteered with the Orange County Rape Crisis Center and the Orange Durham Coalition for Battered Women before managing her own shelter in Pittsboro.

DTH: What should Chapel Hill look like 20 years from now?

  • Hunter: “Chapel Hill should be a less car-dependent community. At that point, I hope we are going to have more extensive local transit service, and we will also have a regional transit solution.”




Renuka Soll has volunteered with various PTA organizations and served on the Parks, Greenways, and Recreation Commission. She also served on the board of North Carolinians against Gun Violence.

DTH: What should Chapel Hill look like 20 years from now?

  • Soll: “I imagine a vibrant downtown. I would love to see the startup community in the office building, more residents, unique and interesting restaurants and stores, very walkable with art installations and maybe canopy trees, and maybe tourism.”





Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools Board of Education (Four seats available)


Rani Dasi is the only incumbent running for reelection in this race. Dasi was first elected in 2015, and has served as vice-chairperson and chairperson of the board. Dasi has 20 years of experience in corporate finance and has served on the board of the Public School Foundation and the Family Success Alliance. 

DTH: How do you think the Board can best serve the district?

  • Dasi: “A school board is effective when it really engages intentionally in creating a structure that supports all students.”



Andrew Davidson served on the CHCCS Board of Education from 2013-2017, including a year as vice-chairperson. Davidson is chairperson of the Special Needs Advisory Council and a parent of two sons in the district.

DTH: How do you think the Board can best serve the district?

  • Davidson: “The Board can best serve the district by working with every single community in our towns, and not picking winners and losers between the various communities.”



Jillian La Serna has 20 years of experience in education. La Serna holds a master’s degree in school administration, and she was principal of Carrboro Elementary School. 

DTH: How do you think the Board can best serve the district?

  • La Serna: “I think the Board of Education can best serve the district by having a strong sense of equity and ensuring that every decision that we make is geared toward that goal.”



Ashton Powell has been a teacher at the North Carolina School of Science & Mathematics for the past 10 years. Powell holds a Ph.D. in neurobiology, and he has two children in the district.  

  • DTH: How do you think the Board can best serve the district?
  • Powell: “I think a lot of what we need to be focusing on is the outcome of the students and whether or not we’re doing right by them. Another issue I’m very passionate about is the mental health of our students.”



Deon Temne currently serves as vice chairperson of the Equity Advisory Council and as a member of the School Improvement Team for Northside Elementary. Temne moved to the district in 2016.

  • DTH: How do you think the Board can best serve the district?
  • Temne: “Listen to the needs of everyone, not just those that speak the loudest.”





Carrboro Board of Aldermen (Three seats available)


Matthew Clements is a self-described libertarian. He is a graduate of UNC and works in IT support.

DTH: What should Carrboro look like 20 years from now?

  • Clements: “I think Carrboro needs to work on growing up and out while continuing to protect the rural buffer and continuing to ensure that, our surface permeable lots, we need to make sure that we have a plan for inclement weather, for climate change.”




Steve Friedman works for a wholesale drug company for independent pharmacies and holds an MBA from UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School.

DTH: What should Carrboro look like 20 years from now?

  • Friedman: “Carrboro must work to maintain its vibrancy, its inclusivity, and its welcoming of people from all over.”




Susan Romaine moved to Carrboro fifteen years ago and has previously worked for a fair taxation group based out of Boston. She holds an MPP from the University of Chicago and founded PORCH NC and Orange County Living Wage.

  • DTH: What should Carrboro look like 20 years from now?
  • Romaine: “I definitely see a lot more density in Carrboro. So maybe a lot of the buildings will be four, five stories. I can even see commercial on the lower level with some residential stories on top of that.”




Damon Seils is an incumbent, first appointed in 2013 and elected in 2015. He works at the Duke University medical system and previously served as chair of the Carrboro Planning Board. 

DTH: What should Carrboro look like 20 years from now?

Seils: “Twenty years from now Carrboro should look like a place where people want to spend time walking around, lingering in our downtown business district and feeling comfortable there.”





Sammy Slade is an incumbent first elected in 2009. He serves as the Board liaison to the Carrboro Climate Change Task Force.

DTH: What should Carrboro look like 20 years from now?

  • Slade: “A place where people are growing their food locally, walking and biking as we are on par with some European cities – there’s infrastructure for biking and for walking. Cars maybe aren’t in the downtown.”





Carrboro Mayor (One seat available)


Lydia Lavelle is the incumbent mayor and is running unopposed. Lavelle served on the Board of Aldermen from 2007 to 2013, at which point she was elected mayor. According to her website, one of Lavelle’s top priorities in her fourth term will be completing The 203 Project. Currently, she works as a law professor at North Carolina Central University.  





@DTHCityState

city@dailytarheel.com


Anna Pogarcic

Anna Pogarcic is the editor-in-chief of The Daily Tar Heel. She is a senior at UNC-Chapel Hill studying journalism and history major. 

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