Here are the candidates running in 2019 Chapel Hill, Carrboro, school board elections

Candidates began to file Friday, July 5, for the 2019 municipal elections. The filing periods runs through Friday, July 19, and the election will be held Tuesday, Nov. 5.
Candidates began to file Friday, July 5, for the 2019 municipal elections. The filing periods runs through Friday, July 19, and the election will be held Tuesday, Nov. 5. AP

Chapel Hill and Carrboro voters will choose from several candidates this year for town boards and will elect at least three new school board members in November.

Chapel Hill Mayor Pam Hemminger will face a challenge from newcomer Josh Levenson.

Mayors and town boards set local budgets and property tax rates, decide how land is developed and make policies affecting services, the local economy and more for years to come. School boards decide how to spend money for educating children and set the policies that guide teachers and administrators.

All local municipal races are nonpartisan.

Five elected officials have decided not to seek another term, including Carrboro Alderwoman Bethany Chaney, who has served since 2014, and Chapel Hill Town Councilwoman Donna Bell, who has served since 2009.

Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools Board of Education member James Barrett also is stepping down and has launched a campaign for N.C. Superintendent of Public Instruction. School board members Pat Heinrich and Jean Hamilton, who was appointed to the board earlier this year, also did not file for re-election.

Two candidates — Carmen Heurta-Bapat and Louis Tortora — withdrew from the race in late summer. Both still will appear on the November ballot, because they ended their campaigns after the July 16 candidate withdrawal deadline.

Voters can register to vote in the November election at the elections office through Friday, Oct. 11, or at an Early Voting location using same-day registration. A valid form of identification is required. Orange County’s Early Voting period will run from Oct. 16 to Nov. 1.

Voters must be age 18 and older, and a resident of the town in which they plan to vote.

A portion of Durham County also lies in the town limits of Chapel Hill, and those voters will be eligible to vote in the town’s races. Information about Durham County’s Early Voting can be found at tinyurl.com/y6hrxl4e.

Absentee voting by mail also is available. Orange County voters should request a ballot using the required Absentee Ballot Request form. Requests can be submitted in person at the Orange County Board of Elections, 208 S. Cameron St. in Hillsborough; by mail at P.O. Box 220, Hillsborough, NC 27278; by email at tyoung@orangecountync.gov; or fax at 919-644-3318.

Durham County voters who live in the town of Chapel Hill can find absentee voter information and forms at tinyurl.com/y4a3kg22.

Below are the candidates running for Chapel Hill and Carrboro offices.

* denotes incumbent

Chapel Hill

The mayor and four of eight Town Council seats will be on this year’s Chapel Hill ballot.

Mayor (2-year term)

Name: Pam Hemminger*

Age: 59

Address: Boxwood Place, Chapel Hill

Political experience: Chapel Hill mayor, 2015-present; Orange County commissioner, 2008-12; Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools Board of Education, 2004-08

Website: facebook.com/mayorpamhemminger

Career: Owner, Windaco Properties LLC

Name: Josh Levenson

Age: 34

Address: Lincoln Lane, Chapel Hill

Political experience: Canvassing, organizing; elected to precinct vice chair and North Carolina caucus second vice chair

Website: JoshuaJamesLevensoncampaign.home.blog

Career: Educator

Town Council (4-year term)

Name: Jessica Anderson* (Mayor Pro Tem)

Age: 40

Address: Eastridge Place, Chapel Hill

Political experience: Town Council member since 2015

Website: jessicaforchapelhill.com

Career: Senior policy analyst, SERVE Center at UNC-Greensboro

Name: Sue Hunter

Age: 51

Address: Rock Creek Road, Chapel Hill

Political experience: Member, Orange County Planning Board; volunteer on five local campaigns

Website: hunter4chapelhill.com

Career: Research compliance

Name: Tai Huynh

Age: 22

Address: Church Street, Chapel Hill

Political experience: Chapel Hill Housing Advisory Board; Chapel Hill Committee for Civic Engagement; founding member, UNC Institute of Politics; N.C. Comprehensive Community College Student Government Association

Website: taiforchapelhill.com

Career: UNC senior and Morehead-Cain Scholar, studying computer science, with minors in business administration and anthropology

Name: Nancy Oates*

Age: 63

Address: Windemere Crossing, Chapel Hill

Political experience: Town Council member since 2015; Civil Rights Task Force; Orange County Food Council; Community Design Commission liaison

Website: reelectnancyoates.org

Career: Freelance writer and editor; former federal probation and parole officer in New York City

Name: Michael Parker*

Age: 69

Address: West Rosemary Street, Chapel Hill

Political experience: Town Council member since 2015; former member of the Planning Board, chair of the Transportation Advisory Board, and co-chair of the Central West Steering Committee

Website: parker4ch.com

Career: Semi-retired health care and life sciences consultant and entrepreneur

Name: Amy Ryan

Age: 59

Address: Adams Way, Chapel Hill

Political experience: Council candidate in 2013; 16 years of service on Chapel Hill advisory boards and committees, including Planning Commission and Community Design Commission

Website: AmyRyan.org

Career: Editor

Name: Renuka Soll

Age: 52

Address: Old Larkspur Way, Chapel Hill

Political experience: Parks, Greenways and Recreation Commission; board, North Carolinians Against Gun Violence; former PTA president, treasurer and secretary; board member, Duke University Campus Club

Website: renukasoll.com

Career: Former market research, sales and product manager, Searle Parmaceuticals; former executive education program marketer, INSEAD


The mayor and three of six Board of Aldermen seats will be on this year’s Carrboro ballot.

Mayor (2-year term)

Name: Lydia Lavelle*

Age: 58

Address: Kit Lane, Chapel Hill (Carrboro)

Political experience: Mayor, 2013-present; Board of Aldermen, 2007-2013

Website: lydialavelle.com

Career: Professor, N.C. Central University School of Law

Board of Aldermen (4-year term)

Name: Matthew P. Clements

Age: 47

Address: N.C. 54 Bypass, Carrboro

Political experience: 2018 Libertarian candidate, N.C. House District 56; former member, Libertarian Party of North Carolina Executive Committee

Website: matthew4freedom.com

Career: Information technology support specialist, Fitch Creations Inc.; baseball writer, Inside Carolina

Name: Stephen Friedman

Age: 52

Address: Manor Ridge Drive, Carrboro

Political experience: former vice president, Carrboro High School booster club; communications director, F3 Churham

Website: carrborosteve.com

Career: Vice president of marketing, Mutual Drug; supporting entrepreneurs through Launch Chapel Hill and Main Street at American Underground

Name: Susan Romaine

Age: 59

Address: Lake Manor Road, Chapel Hill (Carrboro)

Political experience: Former Hogan Farms Precinct chair; former first vice chair and interim chair, Orange County Democratic Party

Website: romaineforcarrboro.com

Career: Co-founder and director, PORCH hunger relief group; co-founder and director, Orange County Living Wage; retired researcher, Service Employees International Union

Name: Damon Seils* (Mayor pro tem)

Age: 46

Address: West Main Street, Carrboro

Political experience: Alderman since 2013; chair, Durham-Chapel Hill-Carrboro Metropolitan Planning Organization; Greenways Commission; Chapel Hill Public Transit Committee; Orange County Partnership to End Homelessness; former chair, Carrboro Planning Board and Orange County Human Relations Commission

Website: damonseils.org

Career: Research communications specialist, Duke University School of Medicine

Name: Sammy Slade*

Age: 44

Address: Dillard Street, Carrboro

Political experience: Board of Aldermen, 2009-present; Orange County Food Council; Orange County Democratic Party; NC WARN

Career: Carpenter

Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools Board of Education

Four of seven Chapel Hill-Carrboro school board seats will be on this year’s ballot.

Name: Rani Dasi*

Age: 48

Address: Balmoral Place, Chapel Hill

Political experience: School board member since 2015, including as vice chair and chair; board member, Public School Foundation and Orange County’s Family Success Alliance; board chair, Walking Classroom; executive board, N.C. Caucus of Black School Board Members; Chapel Hill-Carrboro YMCA board

Website: dasiforschoolboard.com

Career: Corporate finance and strategy

Name: Andrew Davidson

Age: 45

Address: Westbury Court, Chapel Hill

Political experience: chair, Special Needs Advisory Council; Chapel Hill-Carrboro School Board, 2013-17; chair, Frank Porter Graham Elementary School Improvement Team, 2011-2012

Website: facebook.com/andrewdavidsonforschoolboard

Career: data architect, IBM

Name: Jillian La Serna

Address: Fox Run, Chapel Hill

Website: lasernaforschools.com

Career: Assistant professor of educational leadership, UNC-Charlotte; former teacher, assistant principal and principal at Carrboro Elementary School

Name: Ashton Powell

Age: 41

Address: Ironwoods Drive, Chapel Hill

Political Experience: Member, N.C. School of Science and Mathematics Board of Trustees (2015-18); president, Faculty Senate (2014-18); UNC Faculty Assembly since 2013; UNC delegate (2013-18); Faculty Assembly Executive Committee (2016-18); board member and former treasurer, Village West Home Owners Association (2010-15);

Career: Biology instructor, NC School of Science and Mathematics

Name: Deon Temne

Age: 47

Address: Tramore Drive, Chapel Hill

Political experience: Membership chair, (ISC)2 Raleigh-Durham; steering committee member, Campaign for Racial Equity in Our Schools; member, Equity Advisory Council; representative, Special Needs Advisory Council, Seawell Elementary 2018-19; representative, Northside Elementary, Superintendent’s Family Commission; School Improvement Team Member, Rashkis Elementary 2017-18; mentor and member, National Urban League; Member, University of the District of Columbia Board of Trustees 1999-2000

Career: Chief operating officer, Farmer Foodshare; cybersecurity program manager & senior cybersecurity engineer, Department of Commerce; general manager/IT director at J&J Transportation; US Army 1991-2004.

The story will be updated as candidates provide more information.

Tammy Grubb has written about Orange County’s politics, people and government since 2010. She is a UNC-Chapel Hill alumna and has lived and worked in the Triangle for over 25 years.