Penny Rich

Orange County Commissioner Penny Rich

In a release sent out Wednesday morning, Orange County Commissioner Penny Rich announced she will be seeking a third term to represent District 1 of southeast Orange County. Rich, a Democrat, will file for a third term on Dec. 2, 2019.

“I am proud of the work I’ve been able to accomplish as the chair of the Board of Commissioners, and I want to continue moving the county forward as we address the pressing problem of climate change, continue to create good paying jobs by introducing opportunities for economic growth, and keep pushing towards a more equitable county for all,” Rich stated in the release.

Rich, who lived in Chapel Hill for 20 years and moved to Carrboro in 2018, attended Pratt Institute in New York City where she received her Bachelor of Fine Arts. She attended graduate school at New York University where she obtained a Master of Arts in Communication Technology.

Rich began serving on the Board of Orange County Commissioners in 2012. Since that time, she has focused her efforts on economic development, job creation, affordable housing, transportation and social justice. Rich became the Chair of the Board in 2019, after being nominated and appointed to the position.

Since that time, the Board has helped bring 650 living wage jobs to Orange County for the next five years, a figure that will grow to over 1,100 jobs over 10 years. The initiative is also investing over 100 million dollars into the county.

In addition to serving as the Chair of the Board, Rich is also the Finance Chair of the Orange County Visitors Bureau, and the Vice Chair of the Solid Waste Advisory Group. Other groups she serves on include: The Upper Neuse River Basin Association, the Schools Joint Action Committee, Orange County Juvenile Crime Prevention Council, Durham Chapel Hill Orange Metropolitan Planning Organization, Triangle Council of Governments, and the Chatham-Orange Workgroup, Go Triangle Special Tax Board.

In her release, Rich states she will continue to work on expanding Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act, as well as “keep up the fight with our allies in Raleigh to implement progressive policies and help usher in a blue wave.”

If chosen for a third term in 2020, Rich will focus her efforts on the climate, social justice and economic development in Orange County.

Those who wish to follow along with updates from Rich can follow her on her Facebook page at, as well as her Twitter @pennyrich, or her website