Kelleher and Posada vying for Carrboro City Council seat in May 17 election

When Damon Seils was elected mayor of Carrboro in November, he left his council seat open with two years remaining on the term.

And on May 17, voters will elect a candidate for take his seat in a special election that coincides with the 2022 primaries in North Carolina.

Aja Kelleher

A newcomer to politics, Kelleher first ran in the Nov. 2 election for Carrboro City Council last year.

Kelleher became interested in the role after conversations from neighbors who noticed how involved she was with stormwater issues. She currently sits on the city’s Stormwater Advisory Board.

Running as an independent is a difficult task in a city that considers itself primarily a Democrat, Keheller said.

“I didn’t want to be tied to one platform or another…I like to look at things from issue to issue,” Kelleher said. “So what I say to people in town is that I don’t care what party you belong to.”

Kelleher said she doesn’t think the city council currently represents the diversity of opinions and perspectives found in Carrboro.

“Every time you go to town meetings, they seem to agree on almost everything that I have a hard time believing, you know,” Kelleher said. “You can’t even get that kind of deal, I would say, at our dinner table.”

She said she works to support underrepresented communities in Carrboro. Her Korean-American background has allowed her to champion Carrboro’s Asian communities, which make up more than 7% of the city’s residents and area families, according to US Census Bureau data.

Kelleher said his main goals are transparency and accountability, infrastructure, and responsible planning.

One infrastructure issue that Kelleher finds important is stormwater management and flooding, which she says affects her neighborhood and others in the area. She said infrastructure issues must be prioritized over new developments, and there should be greater accountability and transparency about the processes that affect people’s lives and homes.

At an April 12 Carrboro City Council meeting, Diana Newton, a UNC alumnus and Kelleher’s campaign manager, said Kelleher had all but three of the campaign signs and banners destroyed or stolen.

“We all recognize that Carrboro has a reputation for being a progressive town, but lately I think that reputation is showing some threadbare spots,” Newton said during the council meeting.

Eliazar Posada

The son of migrant farm workers, Posada would be the first openly gay Latino to serve in North Carolina if elected.

“In order to better represent our community, we need to involve all sectors of our community in the decisions made on the council,” Posada said. “And I’m not just talking about diversity on the board itself, but also on all the other boards and committees that inform the decision of the board.”

Since graduating from Campbell University in 2015, Posada has been involved in local government serving on the Carrboro Planning Board, Chapel Hill’s Reimagine Community Safety Task Force, and the Raleigh Hispanic and Immigrant Affairs Board.

“My entire professional life has been spent working with community members – not just here in Carrboro, but in Orange, Durham and Wake counties,” Posada said.

Posada has earned several endorsements listed on its website from county and state leaders, including former Orange County Commissioner Penny Rich and Graig Meyer, D-Caswell, Orange.

“Eliazar will continue to be the voice of communities that don’t always have a seat at the table,” Rich said in a statement posted on Posada’s website. “He is dedicated to making Carboro a place for everyone.”

Its main goals are to improve affordable housing, create equity in the community, and improve equitable public transportation, noting that all of these things are essential to ensuring Carrboro is a place for everyone.

Posada said that for him, community outreach is not theoretical, but something he has done and intends to continue doing.

“I’m ready to roll up my sleeves and help Carrboro continue to thrive,” Posada said.

Polling stations are open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Election Day. Information on how to vote can be found here.


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