CHAPEL HILL – Former Chapel Hill Town Council member Laurin Easthom sat on her final council meeting last week. She chose not to seek a third term this year. Serving since 2005, Easthom said she is looking forward to spending more time with her husband and two daughters.
As for whether she would run again, she said she was keeping her options open.
“I’m young enough that I could do it again some day—hopefully, maybe if I ran again and I got re-elected, (though) I don’t presume that would (automatically) be the case,” Easthom said. “At least I would have another chance at some point, so I’m lucky for that.”
Fellow council member Gene Pease did not seek re-election this year. Newcomers Maria Palmer and George Cianciolo, who will replace Easthom and Pease, will be sworn into office Monday evening.
Outside the Council, Easthom is a dentist and has a master’s degree in education. She also served on Chapel Hill’s Transportation Advisory Board, the Horace Williams Citizens Committee and the Orange-Chatham Sierra Club.
In September, Eathom announced her intention to seek the North Carolina House seat in District 50, which was formerly held by now State Senator Valerie Foushee.
Easthom said that one of the accomplishments she was proudest of during her time in office was the cooperation reached between the Council and UNC to reach the Carolina North Development Agreement.
“When I first got on the Council, there was a Town/Gown tension unlike ever before. It took a lot of work to work toward common goals and get through some of that tension,” Easthom said. “The end result, after a lot of meetings and time spent, we were able to come up with an agreement that benefited not only the University but the Town.”
Easthom said she also proud of her part in improving the efficiency of the Town’s technologies. The fiber optic systems of traffic signals were upgraded to a fiber that the Town can use for future purposes such as municipal broadband internet services.
Her advice for Cianciolo and Palmer is to welcome the input of residents, as Easthom said it can be intimidating for citizens to speak during Council meetings.
“Listen—to make sure to listen. I know they [Cianciolo and Palmer] will because it is not an easy thing for people [to speak at Council meetings],” she said.
Easthom said she has no timeline for returning to town politics, if she were to do so. For now, she said she will spend time with her family and concentrate on her work.