If you weren't able to join us live for our virtual forums, you can still check out what these candidates for local office had to say.
Video and candidate bios for both Chapel Hill and Carrboro are below, followed by candidate forum for CHCCS school board, in both English and Spanish.
Adam Searing grew up in Chapel Hill, has degrees in law and public health, and with his wife, Professor Mimi Chapman, is raising two boys who attend UNC and East Chapel Hill High. He is an award-winning nonprofit attorney with a successful career working to expand health care for low income and vulnerable folks in NC and across America. In our community he's done everything from found and coach the Phillips Middle School mountain bike team, serve on the board of Piedmont Health Services, and volunteer in UNC's Covid mass vaccination clinic.
Karen Stegman was born and raised in Chapel Hill and has served on the Town Council for the last 4 years. She also works for a Chapel Hill-based non-profit organization dedicated to ensuring that people around the world have access to quality health care..Karen and her wife, Judge Alyson Grine, are raising two children.
Zachary Boyce is a native of Fayetteville, North Carolina where he was born and raised by two army veterans who taught him the values of public service and community. He is the first in his family to attend college, but is inspired by the potential for the cutting-edge research and knowledge that he has gained access to within the public university to be used for repairing the generational wounds left open in minoritized communities from slavery to the new Jim Crow. As an interdisciplinary scholar, currently a Juris Doctor and Master of Science in Information Sciences candidate, a devoted public servant, and the only mayoral candidate who experiences inter-institutional marginalization and discrimination to an extent that only descendants of slavery endure, he is optimistic about serving the community as mayor for the next two years as the ideal candidate for prioritizing racial equity and restorative justice in all policy initiatives in order to propel Chapel Hill and the greater state of North Carolina into a meaningful racial reckoning and phase of community healing required to ameliorate the generational traumas of colonization, Indigenous genocide, and African chattel-slavery that still impact marginalized communities today.
Vimala Rajendran has been living in our Chapel Hill Carrboro Community since 1985. She has raised her three children here, and they are now 40, 38 and and 34. Vimala has been active in the community with Public Access Media, hunger relief, supporting the Arts and Theater in our area, while also running a restaurant that is a community gathering space that serves wholesome local food. She is best known for her labor justice advocacy, and outreach with food and supplies for Refugees and others.
Dr. Hongbin Gu is a resident of Chapel Hill of 27 years. She is a research scientist in medicine and data science. She has organized many cultural and youth civic engagement events around the triangle community.
Paris Miller-Foushee is an educator and grassroots advocate for restorative criminal justice, affordable housing, and environmental safety in our community. She's on the Board of the Marian Cheek Jackson Center and EmPOWERment Inc, has served on the Town's Reimagining Public Safety Taskforce, and works at the Inter-Faith Council for Social Services where she works with marginalized members of our community to advocate for issues that impact their lives daily. Paris and her husband are raising their son, Amir, in the historically African-American neighborhood of Northside in his great-grandmother's home.
Mayor Pam Hemminger has been serving the Chapel Hill community for over 34 years in her non-profit capacity and as an elected School Board Chair, Orange County Commissioner and on several town boards. She is most proud of her Food for the Student program (over 1.5 million meals served this past year) and the recognition of the Chapel Hill Nine and other town civil rights history!
Camille Berry is a North Carolina native, mother of 3 young adult children, active alumna of Wellesley College, and immediate past president of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Sunrise Rotary Club. Camille and her family moved to the Greater Chapel Hill area when her former husband began working at Carolina Friends School as the College Counselor. All three of her children attended and graduated from CFS - the first integrated school in the area.True to her family's ethos, her alma mater's motto, and the motto of Rotary, Camille has found great purpose in service to her community.
-Mayor Pro Tem, Town of Carrboro
-First elected in 2017
-Lived in Carrboro since 1991
-Community activist and engager
-Affiliated with numerous community organizations such as the Chapel Hill-Carrboro NAACP, Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., Blue Ribbon Mentor Advocate (formerly) and the OWASA Board of Directors (formerly) just to name a few
-Running to keep a seat at the table, because representation matters and to continue to build community
Jacquelyn Gist is a long term Carrboro resident and loves our town's sense of community and of life lived on a human scale. She is proud of the work she's done to help lead Carrboro as it becomes a community that lives up to it's stated values but I know that we have a long way to go before we get there. She’s committed to doing the hard work that will take.
Damon Seils was elected to the Carrboro Town Council in 2013 and has been re-elected twice. He previously chaired the Carrboro Planning Board and the Orange County Human Relations Commission, has been an active member of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro branch of the NAACP for several years, and is a member of the Orange County Community Remembrance Coalition. In his professional life, Damon works in the medical school at Duke University, where he is a communications specialist with a focus on the work of population health scientists and public health researchers who study the quality, costs, and ethics of health care delivery.
Randee Haven-O'Donnell: As an elected representative and public servant, I work to improve the quality of life of the community. I am running for re-election because I have the lived experience as a science educator, proven community activist and organizer in Carrboro for 43 years. As a socially progressive thought leader, I intend to follow-through on my work in racial and climate/environmental equity and justice, Black, Brown, BIPOC, economic opportunities and development for local, small business, non-traditional entrepreneurial enterprise, the arts, and Carrboro’s upcoming community safety, law enforcement and justice initiatives.
Aja Kelleher: As a senior engineer in the technology sector I solve complex problems and drive for results everyday. I will bring these same qualities to representing you on the Town Council. I know the importance of diversity and inclusion on a very personal level. I work in a male-dominated technology sector that isn't always receptive to women and I have faced many challenges in this regard. Having a Korean father and a mother from the deep South has also impacted my experience and perspective on both a personal and professional level. I love my community. Carrboro is an exceptional town that welcomes people from all walks of life and offers fine dining, art, music, and shopping at local businesses.