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Why I wanted to be an elected official 

Mayor Eddie Barber
Emerald Isle

Background:

Mayor Barber has lived in Emerald Isle for 21 years and has been a local small business owner for 14 years.  He owns two Ben and Jerry’s franchises:  one in Emerald Isle and one in Jacksonville.

Time as an elected official:

A couple months (currently beginning his first term as Mayor)

Why he wanted to be an elected official:

Mayor Barber served on the Planning Board for 10 years before deciding to run for elected office. “I believe it is my responsibility to give back to the community.  When the former mayor decided to retire, I felt it was my responsibility and an opportunity to give back.”  Mayor Barber is also a Methodist minister and has always been active in the Emerald Isle community.  He feels his experience as a local business owner and as an active community member has prepared him for his role as mayor. He’s committed to being involved in the community and believes that is very important for the mayor.  “I think it is important to serve the people, not to be served.

Council Member Maria Palmer

Chapel Hill

Background:

Council Member Palmer grew up in Peru and came to the United States as a teenager for college. She taught high school, completed a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree and seminary school before coming to Chapel Hill for her Doctoral program in 1994. 

Time as an elected official:

Since November 2013.

Why she wanted to be an elected official:

Council Member Palmer said she never thought she would pursue local government service, but even as a teen in Peru, her friends joked she needed to come back to Peru after her schooling in the United States and run for President. Her experience with students and the Chapel Hill 2020 comprehensive plan inspired her to run for office with a goal of inclusion. “I’m working for more open government, and I’m not just talking about transparency but intentionally making a real effort to keep people informed.” Palmer hopes to diversify the citizen involvement by creating opportunities for more students to work with government, keeping the Spanish-speaking media engaged and going out into the community to forge new relationships.