County Commissioner Bernadette Pelissier says she’s ready to take on a new challenge.

After two terms on the Orange County Board of Commissioners, Bernadette Pelissier announced she won’t be seeking re-election next year.
Instead, she’ll pursue a long-time dream, running a farm with her family in Cedar Grove.

“Between my children and myself, we have four acres of blueberries,” says Pelissier. “I’m considering things like kiwi and blackberries. We have plans to do a cidery with blueberries and apples. I have no idea yet what it will evolve into.”

Pelissier was first elected to the board in 2008. Looking back on her years of service, she says she’s most proud of her work to encourage economic development.

“We had the half-cent sales tax for economic development and schools. I campaigned a lot for the half-cent sales tax for transit. We have seen increased bus service both the Chapel Hill Transit area and we’re now having rural routes. We have done some changed to our Unified Development Ordinance to allow more enterprise related to agriculture and food in rural Orange. Those are the three things that stand out to me.”

She’ll serve the remainder of her term through December 2016. In this last year, she says she’d like to focus on improving the way the county delivers mental health services.

“I would like to see a more integrated service system related to mental health to keep people out of jail.”

And as county commissioners look ahead to the future, Pelissier would like them to keep the neediest in mind.

“We have a tremendous demand for services and there are a lot of unmet needs out there. What people don’t realize is how much poverty we have I this county, how much inequality we have.”

The filing period for the 2016 election starts in just a few weeks, so those considering a run for office next year must make up their minds soon. The filing period runs December 1 through December 21.

Next year’s primary will be held March 15.