As election day for local municipalities quickly approaches, The Daily Tar Heel's Annika Duneja spoke with Chapel Hill Mayor Pam Hemminger — who is not running for reelection — to hear her thoughts on candidates, their policies and the importance of the election. Hemminger has endorsed Jess Anderson in the mayoral race.
This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.
The Daily Tar Heel: Why is this specific year's election in Chapel Hill important to you? Is there anything different or unique about it?
Pam Hemminger: We have spent so much time the last eight years, doing the research, asking the questions and formulating a plan for Complete Communities, for climate action, for affordable housing, for all things downtown. I feel like this election really sets the tone for implementing the plans that we spent the time to put together after doing all that research.
DTH: What do you think this election will mean, depending on who is elected?
PH: If the group gets elected who is anti-all this development, anti-growing, anti-creating more spaces for affordable housing, then I think things will stall out for a period of time. I think it's going to be a big decision point, whether we keep the wheels turning the way they're going, or whether we come to a break and take a stop. Which, in the long run, we're going to have to grow.
DTH: You endorsed Jess Anderson as the candidate who you think should replace you as mayor. Can you tell me a little bit about why you decided to endorse her?
PH: Jess has been at the table doing the work toward this Complete Communities framework, toward the Climate Action Plan, toward the affordable housing plan. She gets it. She understands policy decisions. She doesn't react to one-off decisions. She brings people together.
She actually likes to hear from people who have different opinions. And she likes to figure out what the common ground is. She has the passion and the energy. She also reaches out to her colleagues, even the ones she disagrees with, to have this conversation.