Chapel Hill Town Council member Karen Stegman announced her bid for reelection in early June, which she celebrated through an event at Italian Pizzeria III on Franklin Street this weekend.
Stegman, a Chapel Hill native and UNC graduate, is finishing up her first term on the council and is the first member to announce her plans to run again. She said she is excited to start up community conversations about the upcoming election.
She is running for re-election, she said, because the council has been extremely successful during her time in office, especially in regard to the pandemic, and she wants to help Chapel Hill rebuild as it exits the crisis.
“There are a lot of things we have momentum on that I really want to see through,” Stegman said.
Last summer, the council organized a Re-Imagining Community Task Force, she said, which was aimed at increasing public safety and racial equity in Chapel Hill.
The group will soon be releasing its recommendations, and implementing these recommendations remains among her top priorities, she said.
Other issues Stegman has been working on recently, she said, include reinventing community safety, affordable housing and finalizing the new Climate Action Plan.
Joal Broun, a board member of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools Board of Education, said she has interacted closely with Stegman through their work on the Board and the Council.
She said Stegman’s most important work in the town has been her emphasis on affordable housing, the appropriate level of policing and making Chapel Hill adaptable for living for people across all income levels.
“Making Chapel Hill more affordable will allow more teachers to move into the area, and we really would like our teachers, if it’s possible, to live in the community in which they teach,” Broun said.
Alyson Grine, Stegman's wife, said she has helped to increased the visibility of the LGBTQ+ community. Grine is the only openly LGBTQ+ member serving as a Superior Court judge in North Carolina.
“Karen has been able to raise the profile of LGBTQ+ issues, and I know that there is some person somewhere feeling overwhelmed as they’re dealing with the oppression, and they’re like ‘that gives me a little spark’,’' Grine said.
Grine, additionally, said Stegman is incredibly passionate about her work on the council, and she works very hard to stay on top of issues affecting vulnerable members of the community.
Stegman also works a full-time job at IntraHealth International, a Chapel Hill nonprofit aimed at increasing accessibility to health care, as the director of business development.
Stegman and Grine’s daughter, Hazel, said Stegman makes a lot of really important changes within Chapel Hill, and she brings a unique perspective to the council.
“I also think that she’s just really inspiring,” Hazel said. “As her daughter, I feel really empowered when I see my mom in that role and leading the town toward good changes.”
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