Chapel Hill News

Former Orange County Commissioner Hemminger launches bid to unseat Chapel Hill mayor

Pam Hemminger
Pam Hemminger

Former Orange County Commissioner Pam Hemminger returned to the political ring Monday in the race for Chapel Hill’s next mayor.

Hemminger, 55, and current Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt, 45, were among several local leaders and challengers who filed to run in this year’s municipal and Chapel Hill-Carrboro School Board races. Southern Village resident Gary Kahn also filed for the chance to be Chapel Hill mayor.

The 2015 filing period runs through noon Friday, July 17. Early voting starts Oct. 22, with the general election Nov. 3.

She wasn’t planning to run, Hemminger said, but saw an opportunity to have a conversation about some of Chapel Hill’s more complicated problems.

The town needs growth and a stronger tax base, she said, but that shouldn’t lead to construction in floodplains, resource conservation districts or without ensuring energy-efficient buildings. Those decisions, combined with high-density residential growth, could make the problems worse, she said.

“I’m really frustrated with the direction Chapel Hill is taking in a lot of ways,” she said.

Hemminger (, the owner and manager of commercial real estate management company Windaco Properties LLC, served one term as a commissioner before losing the May 2012 primary race. She previously served four years on the Chapel Hill-Carrboro School Board, including as vice chairwoman and chairwoman. She also is a former member of the town’s Parks and Recreation Commission and the Greenways Commission.

She has been active in Triangle United Soccer Association, Rainbow Soccer and at Ephesus Elementary and Phillips Middle schools. She also is past chairwoman of the Orange-Chatham Sierra Club and is now a Habitat for Humanity of Orange County board member.

Other candidates filing Monday were: Chapel Hill-Carrboro School Board member Annetta Streater and challenger Rani Dasi; Carrboro Mayor Lydia Lavelle; Carrboro Aldermen Michelle Johnson, Damon Seils and Bethany Chaney; Chapel Hill Town Council challenger Michael Parker; Hillsborough Mayor Tom Stevens; and Hillsborough Board of Commissioners challenger Mark Bell.

Bell, 49, is chairman of Hillsborough’s Historic District Commission.

Dasi, the school board candidate, is a business analysis manager at Lord Corp. and has 20 years of professional experience in finance and strategic planning. She has served as a student mentor and tutor and is a member of The Walking Classroom Board of Directors and co-director of the Triangle Alumni Admissions Council for Northwestern University.

Information for voters and candidates is available at the elections office, 208 S. Cameron St. in Hillsborough, or online at