Penny Rich for County Commissioner

October 21, 2016
by Mary

2016 Early Voting: Oct. 20-Nov. 5 in Orange County

Early voting began yesterday in Orange County. In this crazy election year the best advice I heard was from Senator Valerie Foushee, who said to start at the bottom and work your way up when you get your ballot. Or as I would say, “start low and go high.” When you’re voting, flip the ballot over and start with the county bonds, then work your way up to President of the United States. Save the best for last!

If you start on the back of the ballot, the first vote you’ll make is an investment in Orange County’s future:

As you work your way through the judges, be sure to support Judge Linda Stephens for the Court of Appeals and Judge Mike Morgan for Supreme Court. As you move toward checking that historic box for our first woman president, don’t forget to support all of our Democratic candidates, including me. I appreciate your vote!




Same Day Voter Registration is available during the Early Voting period at all Early Voting sites. If completing Same-Day Registration, one must vote at the Early Voting Site rather than on Election Day.





A national network of voting rights groups operates an Election Protection hotline on Election Day during major election years. They have attorneys who can respond quickly to voter complaints and to activities that suppress voting, such as a police road block near a polling place. If you have a problem voting on Election Day, call the national Election Protection hotline at 866-OUR-VOTE (866-687-8683) or call the NC Hotline 888-OUR-VOTE.

March 17, 2016
by penny

Thank You!

Thanks to your tremendous outpouring of support, I am honored to return to the Orange County Board of County Commissioners. There is so much that makes Orange County a GREAT place to live – our highly ranked schools, the value we place on diversity and equality, our commitment to historical significance and heritage, our priority on environmental preservation, and so much more. I understand the need for continued economic development and affordable housing, and promise to do everything I can to preserve and protect all that we have come to love about Orange County.

Please stay connected through FacebookTwitter, and Instagram, and encourage your friends to do the same. My door is always open and I look forward to the work ahead. Together, we can protect what is great while creating new opportunities for Orange County.

Thank you,


March 13, 2016
by penny


A Clean Sweep of Endorsements This Year!

Penny Rich Gets a Clean Sweep of Endorsements This Year!

Welcome to the website! I encourage you to check out the About page for my biography, and the My Focus page to look at the work we’ve done on the Board of County Commissioners! I’m proud to be supported by many people and groups, so I encourage you to read the Endorsements page. Thank you for visiting, and I hope I can earn your vote!

March 2, 2016
by penny

Nurturing the Spectacular in Orange County

It’s been a pleasure to serve Orange County for the past four years, and it’s been an honor to live in Chapel Hill, along with my family, for nearly 20 years. Raising children while tending to the needs of an aging parent has given me a unique vantage from which to view many of the wonderful services our community provides. But I’m also well aware of its costs. Diversifying our economy, protecting school funding and growing affordable and senior housing are my priorities.

But how much should our residents have to pay for this?

I believe living here should be affordable and welcoming for all: new graduates, teachers, retirees and a diversified population. I’m concerned that 85 percent of our tax base is derived from property taxes, and know that we must bring in new industry. Whether that industry is tourism, commercial development or entrepreneurial start-ups, I don’t want our residents to have to leave Orange County in order to have to manage their monthly bills.

And our economy is diversifying. In 2014, the Board of County Commissioners announced the recruitment of Morinaga, a Japanese candy manufacturer. The company has invested $48 million in a new facility that will employ 90 people. This kind of light manufacturing is a great match for our economic development zones.

I sit on the board for the Chapel Hill/Orange County Visitors Bureau, which gives me a perspective on the growing jobs in the hospitality community. Our local tourism industry employs residents at all wage and skill levels and fuels a strong tax base. Tourism – the cleanest, greenest industry out there – is an economic engine for Orange County. In 2014 it pumped $181 million into our economy. Many people say, “Wouldn’t they visit anyway? Wouldn’t they come for UNC?” The answer is, yes, they come for UNC – but then they’re lured to surrounding communities where serious marketing efforts are underway to fill new hotels and restaurants. Sometimes you have to work to keep a Tar Heel at home.

UNC is the best pubic university in the nation, and many of its brilliant graduates want to stay here. Industries begin in some of the most unlikely places: one I know of began in a custodial closet in Dey Hall. I continue to work with community partners to encourage start-up companies who can work with our local incubator spaces (we have five) and launch a business that allows them to stay, play and raise their families in Orange County. I am proud that our board helped fast track two small business grant programs, funded by the one-quarter cent sales tax funds, called Article 46 funds, to aide existing business investment and early-stage venture growth.

Finally, I remain committed to nurturing what is so extraordinary about Chapel Hill-Carrboro and Orange County.

Some of our greatest strengths are intangible. Many of us came here for a visit and stayed for life. We found something here that spoke to us. Whether it’s the people, the natural beauty, the art, the music or, yes, the food, there is something here for all of us. I don’t want to lose an ounce of what makes us spectacular. I will continue to fight for the right balance of growth, protection of cultural resources and affordable living for seniors.

I love Orange County. I look forward to continuing to protect what is great about Orange County for the next four years while creating new opportunities, and I ask for your support.

Penny Rich is seeking re-election as Orange County commissioner – District 1.

As printed in the Chapel Hill News on March 1, 2016

February 11, 2016
by Mary

NC Sheriff Police Alliance Endorsement

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Dear Penny Rich,

Thank you for participating in our 2016 primary election process. While all the candidates brought various talents to the table we can only choose 5 candidates or less. Our endorsements are based on individual scores, discussions and merits of the candidate by the screening committee. In doing so it is with the greatest amount of respect we are congratulating you on the endorsement of the North Carolina Sheriff Police Alliance for the 2016 Primary / General Election. In doing so it is our hope and desire to keep the avenues of communication open throughout the next 4 years of your term as Orange County Commissioner. Again Congratulations on our endorsement!

Standing With and For Law Enforcement

Andy Miller, President

November 16, 2015
by Mary

Press Release: Penny Rich Seeks Re-Election

Contact: Penny Rich

(919) 428-5952

November 17, 2015

Orange County Commissioner Penny Rich is pleased to announce that she will be filing for candidacy on December 1, 2015 with the North Carolina Board of Elections, seeking a second term representing southeast Orange County (District 1) on the Orange County Board of County Commissioners.

Penny Rich has served on the Orange County Board of County Commissioners since 2012 and remains committed to being a strong voice for affordable and workforce housing, smart economic growth, the environment, social justice, and our schools.  During her first term, Commissioner Rich served as the Finance Chair on the Orange County Visitors Bureau, Co-Chair of the Solid Waste Advisory Group (SWAG), Chair of the Intergovernmental Parks Workgroup, Rotating Chair of the Orange, Durham, Chapel Hill Workgroup, Chair of the Communications Task Force/Strategic Plan, and on the Nominating Committee for the Triangle Council of Governments. Penny also Co-Chaired the Rogers Road Task Force, which successfully completed a final report that resulted in a positive step towards the installation of sewer in the Historic District, to be in place by 2017.

Penny has worked to voice Orange County’s concerns to our delegation in Raleigh and to the McCrory Administration, drafting a resolution urging the general assembly and Governor McCrory to reconsider the decision not to expand Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act, a resolution in opposition to offshore exploration, drilling and seismic blast activities, a letter to the Board of Elections in support of Sunday voting, a petition requesting that United Health Care (the county’s insurer) cease supporting divisive policies of ALEC, and a resolution declaring Indigenous Peoples’ Day.  She spearheaded an effort to allow for the public viewing of all BOCC email activity, urged Orange County’s involvement with the Living Wage Project, and worked toward an expansion of summer jobs for high risk teens and the creation of an intern program at the Board of County Commissioners.

If re-elected, Commissioner Rich would like to prioritize her work with the SWAG, working with the towns of Chapel Hill, Carrboro, Hillsborough and the University of North Carolina to create a comprehensive Inter-local Agreement. Now that a county wide recycling program is in place, this needs attention. Rich feels that we can do a better job controlling our waste stream, and understands that when we bring our waste to a transfer station in another county we lose control of the outcome.

Penny Rich has lived in Chapel Hill since 1998.  She owns her own personal chef and catering company and has recently joined the Terra Vita Food and Wine Festival, Orange County’s premier food event, as Community Relations/Engagement Manager. She was raised and educated in New York City where she received a Bachelor of Fine Art at Pratt Institute and a Master of Arts in Communication Technology at New York University.

Commissioner Rich will be posting updates and events on her political Facebook page . Please “Like” this page for up to date information. You can also follow Penny on Twitter @pennyrich or Instagram @penny2rich, or visit her web site at