CHAPEL HILL — After nearly 24 years, Orange County Commissioner Alice Gordon announced Thursday she wont seek re-election in November.
I have had the honor and privilege of being a county commissioner for more than twenty years, and I wish to thank the residents of Orange County for their confidence and trust in electing me six times, said Gordon, who represents District 1 in southern Orange County. I believe that we have made great progress in addressing the goals I set out to accomplish when I first ran for office.
But shes not done yet. The 76-year-old Chapel Hill residents term on the Orange County Board of Commissioners ends in December. Until then, her biggest priority is to push for needed upgrades, repairs and renovations to both Orange County and Chapel Hill-Carrboro City schools, she said.
Besides considering a $100 million bond referendum to pay for schools needs, the commissioners have some big decisions ahead, from establishing a new recycling program to planning for a new county jail.
Since first elected in 1990, Gordon has advocated for education, environmental protection and regional transportation.
She helped establish the countys Schools Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance that helps plan for new schools and, more recently, advocated for a new science wing at Culbreth Middle School in Chapel Hill. The project broke ground in December.
In 1998, she led the creation of the Lands Legacy Program that protects significant natural and cultural resources. The states first comprehensive county land-acquisition program, it won the Excellence in County Planning Award from the National Association of County Planners in 2007.
Thats going to be an enduring legacy, because weve protected over 3,000 acres in Orange County, Gordon said. Its really been a dream to have better protections for clean air and clean water.
Gordon also was instrumental in creating the first joint transportation plan between the Triangles eastern and western counties. That process won a 2009 National Award for Outstanding Achievement in Metropolitan Transportation Planning.
Among other responsibilities, she is now the boards liaison to the Durham-Chapel Hill-Carrboro Metropolitan Planning Organization and its policy board. The MPO is a regional transportation planning board for the western Triangle. Gordon previously served as chairwoman of the Triangle Transit Board of Trustees and the MPO policy board.
Leadership Triangle recognized her contributions to environmental protection and regional transportation in 2006 with the Goodmon Award for exemplary regional leadership by an elected official. She also was honored in 2012 as a Town Treasure by the Chapel Hill Historical Society.
Commissioners Chairman Barry Jacobs and Vice Chairman Earl McKees terms also are up this year. McKee said in December that he intends to seek re-election; Jacobs has not announced his intentions.
Filing for the 2014 election season starts at noon Feb. 10. The primary is May 6, and the General Election is Nov. 4.