By Carl Blankenship
Editor’s note: This announcement was published late. See here for an apology and explanation.
CHAPEL HILL — Incumbent Chapel Hill Town Council member Jess Anderson joined the mayor race for the town after filing July 19.
Anderson was first elected to council in 2015 and reelected to a second term in 2019. Her current term expires this year and earned the most votes of any candidate in each race, with 17% of the vote each election cycle.
Anderson is a policy analyst and professor of public policy at UNC-Chapel Hill. She is currently the interim director of the university’s master of public policy program.
“Chapel Hill is an amazing place,” Anderson said in a campaign announcement. “To keep it that way, we need to address the realities of 2023 and beyond. As mayor, I’ll work hard at shaping our policy agenda so we prioritize meaningful solutions that last. My record as a council member reflects this commitment to moving us forward.”
Anderson, a mother of two students in local schools, pointed to expansion of the town’s commercial tax base, investments in affordable housing, creating the town’s climate action plan, acquiring 27 acres of parkland on Legion Road and the town’s planned rapid transit bus lines as major accomplishments.
Anderson pushed for adopting the town’s Complete Community Strategy and pointed to the policy as helping the town acquire a $1 million federal grant to fund a study for a connected greenway network. In the announcement, Anderson said her vision is to connect everyone in town through the network so they “will be able to walk, bike or access transit to reach parks, schools, jobs and shopping.”
“As Mayor I’ll make sure this vision for an inclusive, sustainable and economically-vibrant future becomes reality,” the announcement reads. “I’m excited to embrace this opportunity to move forward together.”
Incumbent Mayor Pam Hemminger endorsed Anderson’s campaign and said Anderson “possesses a unique combination of personal passion, professional skills, and past experience that makes her the best choice for Chapel Hill’s mayor.:
Anderson will face off against Adam Searing, a fellow incumbent whose term runs through 2025. If Searing wins he will leave a vacancy on the council to be filled by appointment.
Disclosure: Adam Searing is a former member of The Local Reporter’s Advisory Committee and a monthly donor.