Openly gay official will seek third term
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt announced on Thursday that he would run for re-election this year, filing campaign paperwork at the Orange County Board of Elections to run for a third term.
‚ÄúBeing Mayor of Chapel Hill over the past three years has been the one of most challenging, yet rewarding experience of my life,” Kleinschmidt said, according to a release. “It is my intention to file for re-election in July in the hope the citizens will allow me to continue to serve and move forward with the hard work we have invested in Chapel Hill together as a community.”
Kleinschmidt’s campaign says Chapel Hill has made significant policy advancements and won several awards during his tenure as mayor. The town has adopted their Chapel 2020 plan, expanded the Chapel Hill Public Library and was named one of Money magazine’s Best Places to Live. The city has also been able to maintain its AAA bond raiting and received significant grant funding totaling $7.5 million for new hybrid buses and transportation planning.
‚ÄúI look forward to participating in the democratic process this upcoming election cycle and continuing to work with the citizens of Chapel Hill to help them realize our shared goals and vision for this community,‚ÄĚ Kleinschmidt said.
Kleinschmidt is Chapel Hill’s first openly gay mayor. He has been endorsed by the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund. Kleinschmidt was first elected mayor in 2009, after serving two terms on the town council from 2001-2009.
Only one other openly gay person is currently serving in a mayor’s office in North Carolina. Elic Senter has served as mayor of Franklinton since 2007. Mike Nelson was the first openly gay person elected to a mayor’s office. He won election in Carrboro in in 1995 and served five consecutive terms through 2005.
[Ed. Note -- This article has been updated to clarify information regarding Kleinschmidt's, Senter's and Nelson's service.]