Penny Rich for County Commissioner

My Focus

Climate and Environment

  • Continue to support the creation of new public transportation options to reduce our carbon footprint, offering public education on these important issues
  • Encourage renewable energy sources for all county buildings and new development
  • Assist lower income homeowners with an energy audit; seal homes to reduce fuel consumption
  • Encourage schools to continue to compost and reduce food waste
  • Encourage residents to chose Energy Star products when replacing old appliances
  • Continue to work on the Solid Waste Advisory Board (SWAG) to reduce our waste stream; support new technology efforts converting waste to fuel
  • Encourage the acquisition of land through the “Lands Legacy Program” to protect important natural habitats and forests
  • Support Orange County’s Voluntary Farmland Preservation Program currently 121 farms, 15,433 acres, about 6% of the county.

Economic Development

  • Work with our Economic Development team to identify and attract new business. In 2019, I assisted in the negotiation of over $100 million dollars invested in the Buckhorn EDD, bringing 650 living wage jobs over the next 5 years.
  • Continue to support local business with Article 46 tax dollar grants
  • Work with UNC “Innovate Carolina” to create space and retain new start business in Orange County
  • Support and continue working with the laUNCh business incubator
  • Continue to support Women Entrepreneurs at “WEpower”
  • Grow tourism though the Orange County Visitors Bureau, promoting clean Economic Development
  • Support programs at Durham Tech – Orange County Campus to support newly located company workforce

Affordable Housing

  • Allocate remaining funds from the 2016 bond
  • Continue conversations with town leaders to identify housing opportunities
  • Continue working with Orange County’s housing non-profit organizations to enhance housing stock
  • Consider land by Carrboro Elementary for teacher and school staff housing
  • Continue to explore affordable housing options with our partners on the Greene Tract  – currently 100 families are homeless in the CHCCS system, we can and must do better
  • Revisit zoning options to make it easier to build a variety of housing


  • Continue to address unfunded state mandates
  • Support efforts to increase safety on all school property
  • Identity funding sources; increase economic development
  • Support ongoing data presented in SAFPO
  • Continue discussions on where to locate new schools
  • Continue to address inequities between old and newer schools
  • Encourage the schools to make all custodians CHCCS employees paid a living wage
  • Continue to encourage a long-term maintenance plan for all facilities

Social Justice

  • Push an anti-racist message and voice opposition to hate groups
  • Continue efforts with UNC to assure students and faculty are safe on campus
  • Support the Human Relations Committee’s programs and outreach efforts
  • Implement new transportation concepts for rural Orange County
  • Continue to help people relocate from manufactured homes where land is being sold for redevelopment
  • Continue conversations with the Compass Center to create safe homes for women and children in abusive relationships
  • Work with the Department on Aging to make sure our seniors are safe and have access to regular meals
  • Continue working with the Partnership to End Homelessness and the Family Success Alliance to identify families needing assistance with basic needs such water and electricity – children need these essentials to perform well in school

Leadership, Boards and Commissions

  • Rotating Chair – Chatham-Orange Joint Planning Task Force
  • Durham-Chapel Hill-Carrboro Metropolitan Planning Organization
  • Orange County Juvenile Crime Prevention Council
  • Legislative Issues Workgroup
  • Solid Waste Advisory Group
  • Triangle J Council of Governments
  • Upper Neuse River Basin Association
  • Finance Chair – Orange County Visitor’s Bureau
  • NCDOT – Orange County group
  • School Collaboration
  • Chapel Hill/Carrboro Chamber of Commerce “Big Ideas” initiative
  • Rural Broadband Workgroup
  • Kenan Mentor Board of Directors
  • School of Government Ambassador Leadership Alum

Sponsored Resolutions

  • Resolution in Response to Recent Acts of Racial and Ethnic Intimidation on the Campus of UNC-Chapel Hill
  • Resolution Supporting the More Powerful NC Campaign Against the Opioid Epidemic
  • Resolution Supporting North Carolina’s Working People and Their Families
  • Resolution in Support of Expanding Medicaid Coverage Under the Affordable Care Act
  • Resolution Condemning the Ku Klux Klan and Other Similar Group