Sierra Club Announces Chapel Hill, Carrboro Endorsements

The following two press releases were received this afternoon.

The Orange-Chatham Sierra Club is proud to announce the endorsement of these candidates for the November municipal election in Chapel Hill.

Pam Hemminger

Town Council:
Allen Buansi
Ed Harrison
Karen Stegman

The NC Sierra Club supports candidates with demonstrated knowledge of local environmental issues who will provide strong leadership on matters including conservation, growth, and transportation.

As mayor, Pam Hemminger is one of almost 100 U.S. mayors to commit to upholding the Paris Climate Accord; she found funding for Rogers Road Water/Sewer & Planning project, a matter of environmental justice for the community that lived for years with the town landfill.  She is working with Carrboro and Orange County to provide affordable housing in an environmentally responsible way.  She supports use of renewable energy wherever possible (including in the town’s vehicles) and upholding energy efficiency in town buildings.  She supports multimodal transportation plans, including the Durham/Orange Light Rail line.  She supports walkability and bicycle routes, while working to increase bicycle safely.  Her support for Sierra Club values like open space, preserving the tree canopy and rural buffer, and good management of stormwater has been specific in a number of plans for the town.  Her leadership on water pollution, use of graywater, and stormwater management has been impressive in Chapel Hill and the Jordan Lake Watershed.  She understands that one of the principles of smart growth is density along transportation corridors.  She is leading the town in a discussion of the revision of the form-based code, one of the most controversial of the town’s recent innovations and an issue in the previous election cycle.  She has been successful in the office of mayor and the Orange-Chatham Sierra Club believes she should be re-elected for another term.

Allen Buansi has been working on environmental justice issues across his personal life and career since a young age, including work for clean air, clean water, and farm animal issues in eastern North Carolina. Locally, he has done similar work around the landfill and other environmental issues affecting the historically black Rogers Road community in Chapel Hill. He is also a member of the Healthy Environment for All Community Advisory Council organized by the Southern Environmental Law Center. Allen holds positive positions around climate change issues, local composting initiatives, better transit service and bike amenities, and concentrating growth in appropriate areas.  We believe Allen would bring a much-needed voice for environmental justice issues to the council, and his professional background in litigation around these issues gives him a depth of understanding we could very much use, particularly as Chapel Hill faces issues such as remediating the coal ash dump sitting under the current police station.

Ed Harrison has demonstrated local and regional leadership on the GoTriangle Board of Directors, particularly around the Durham-Orange Light Rail project. He has been an advocate for bicycle and pedestrian issues, both at large and by providing excellent constituent service in solving localized transportation hurdles around specific locations. His voting record is almost always informed first by environmental issues; even when his specific votes have run counter to those by others in the environmental community, the justification behind his votes is always environmentally motivated and reflects the nuance of competing environmental priorities. Ed’s long service on the council and deep commitment to environmental issues has made him its valuable institutional memory. He has the best-detailed technical knowledge of any council member in recent history and has used this ability to the great benefit of our community.

Karen Stegman, a newcomer to running for office, has demonstrated an in-depth knowledge of local environmental issues and how the office of town council member can address them. Her understanding of issues surrounding transportation showed a level of comprehension above and beyond many of the other candidates’. She advocates for consideration of environmental justice as a part of other larger issues being addressed by the town, and is very knowledgable about the local challenges, impacts, and potential solutions for climate change.  Her work for environmental issues has spanned from her global work on environmental health issues in her day job, to protesting the NC General Assembly’s attacks on environmental regulatory authority, to advocating for a strong transit system at the town and county levels.

The Sierra Club believes that Chapel Hill’s citizens, their environmental goals, quality of life and budget will be best served with these four endorsed candidates.

The Orange-Chatham Sierra Club is proud to announce the endorsement of these candidates for the November municipal election in Carrboro.


Lydia Lavelle

Board of Aldermen:

Barbara Foushee
Jacquelyn Gist
Randee Haven-O’Donnell
Sammy Slade

The NC Sierra Club supports candidates with demonstrated knowledge of local environmental issues who will provide strong leadership on matters including conservation, growth, and transportation.

The incumbents (LavelleGistHaven-O’Donnell, and Slade) have been endorsed multiple times by the Sierra Club and have shown continued commitment to the environment in their time in office. Accomplishments of particular note are the creation of a Community Climate Action Plan and the establishment of a stormwater utility program. They have also worked for improved open space, stream protections, and transit in the town. They deserve the chance to continue their excellent work.

Barbara Foushee has shown leadership on environmental justice issues, having worked with residents of the Rogers Road neighborhood to redress issues caused by the nearby landfill. She is also committed to encouraging dense development, protecting open space, and finding alternatives to single-occupancy vehicles. The club believes she will be a strong addition to the Carrboro Board of Aldermen.



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