By Taylor Sisk
The deadline to file to run in the November election passed on Friday, with four additional candidates throwing their hats in the ring.
Kevin Wolff announced his decision to make a fourth bid at becoming mayor of Chapel Hill, Jim Ward opted to run for reelection to the Chapel Hill Town Council, Carl Schuler will make his first try for council and Mike Kelley will vie for a third term on the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools Board of Education.
The campaign season now begins.
Wolff, a patent lawyer, will be going up against incumbent Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt and challenger Tim Sookram. He has in the past stated that he would serve as a â€œmoderate voiceâ€ on the council, which he has said is lacking. Wolff lost to incumbent Kevin Foy in 2007, earning 29 percent of the vote, and again in 2005, with 21 percent. Then in 2009, he withdrew from the race but remained on the ballot, gathering just over 1 percent of the vote.
Ward and Schuler join a field of nine candidates for four open seats on the Chapel Hill Town Council. Incumbents Donna Bell and Matt Czajkowski also will seek reelection. Challengers Jason Baker, Augustus Cho, Laney Dale, Jon DeHart and Lee Storrow round out the field.
Ward is the associate director of horticulture at the N.C. Botanical Garden. He was first elected to the board in 1999 and is presently mayor pro tem, and has lived in Chapel Hill since 1975. He said he thoroughly enjoys the process of serving as a member of the council and hopes to continue to do so. Ward identifies the comprehensive plan, town-gown relations, the library, regional transit and the economy as major issues the council will face as it goes forward.
â€œThere arenâ€™t cuts to be made [to the town budget] without having a significant impact on quality or level of service or personnel,â€ Ward said.
Schuler is a nurse consultant at the UNC Center for Heart and Vascular Care. Heâ€™s lived in Chapel Hill since 2004 and has been a member of the Vineyard Square homeowners association, which he said led him to take an interest in getting involved in issues affecting the entire town. He believes that among the most pressing issues facing the community are economic development, affordable housing and infrastructure to accommodate projected growth. As an unaffiliated candidate, he feels he will bring an open mind to the council.
Kelley joins a field of seven other candidates vying for five open seats on the board of education, including incumbents Jamezetta Bedford, Mia Burroughs and Annetta Streater and challengers James Barrett, Brian Bower, Raymond Conrad and Kris Castellano.
Kelley is a physician scientist at Duke and the Durham Veterans Affairs medical centers. He was first elected to the board in 2003; he served as chair of the board from 2009 to 2010 and as vice chair from 2008 to 2009.
â€œOur community is at a critical juncture,â€ he said in announcing his candidacy. â€œWith a new superintendent starting this month, there is an opportunity to review our district through new eyes while at the same time financial constraints will continue for at least the next several years.â€
By Taylor Sisk