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Posted on: September 2, 2021

Social Justice Activist Anna Richards chosen for Commissioner vacancy

Photo of Anna Richards

Social justice and community activist Anna Richards was chosen unanimously Thursday night to fill a vacancy on the Orange County Board of Commissioners. Richards was chosen from among four candidates forwarded by the Orange County Democratic Party.

"I am beyond humbled by this opportunity," Richards said after the vote was revealed. "I can just say it will be my intention to get on the learning curve. I know I have a steep one. I will try to do the very best job that I can in representing District 1 folks and working with the rest of the commissioners."

Besides Richards, the other nominees were former Orange County Commissioner Penny Rich, Chapel Hill-Carrboro School Board member Rani Dasi, and former Orange County Democratic Party Chair Marilyn Carter.

Richards thanked the other candidates for running and said she hoped to work with them as she transitions to the Board.

"I hope they will be open to collaborating with me and working with me, and I will look forward to that," she said. "We have to all work together. I am very much looking forward to the opportunity."

Richards has long been active on social justice issues in Orange County through her work with the Chapel Hill-Carrboro chapter of the NAACP. She served on the Orange County Complete Count Committee that encouraged residents to complete the 2020 Census.

The seat became open when Commissioner Dorosin resigned effective July 31 to take a teaching job in Florida. Each candidate filled out an application, which included answers to a series of questions developed by the Board of Commissioners. The applications were forwarded to the Orange County Democratic Party, which chose four finalists to submit to the BOCC for consideration. By state law, candidates had to be a registered Democrat and must live in District 1.

Even though Dorosin's term was through 2024, Richards will only serve through November 2022. A special election will be held next year to fill the remaining two years of Dorosin's term. The special election will be open to candidates from all parties.