Councilman Chip Turner announces run for mayor

Graham city councilman Chip Turner announces today his intention to run for mayor in this year’s municipal elections.

Turner, first elected in 2009, won’t seek re-election to his city council seat, but will, instead, run for the mayor’s seat now held by Jerry Peterman. He won re-election in 2013 and 2017 and now serves as the mayor pro tem, second-ranking behind the mayor.

While it has been widely rumored that Peterman may not seek re-election, The Alamance News was unable to confirm his intentions. For his part, Turner’s announcement takes it as a given that Peterman is stepping aside.

“I want to congratulate Jerry on his many years in leadership of our city. He has earned our respect and gratitude for his wisdom and even-handed control. I have enjoyed serving with him and will miss his contributions to the city council. I have tried my best to convince him to stay.”

Turner goes on to say, “While Jerry has earned his rest, my work is not done.”

Turner outlines his goal as keeping much of Graham’s small-town charm. “There are those in our city that want to fundamentally change our way of life and the look of our city,” Turner says. “My goal is to continue to protect the look and feel of our downtown business community as a vibrant and welcoming small-town America, where friends and neighbors can meet, enjoy a movie, a meal, or a street festival.”

Brice “Chip” Turner, 68, is a retired career employee with the North Carolina Department of Transportation. He is a life-long member of First United Methodist Church in Graham. Prior to his election to the council, Turner served for 10 years, from 1999 to 2009, as a member of the city’s recreation and parks commission.

Turner is also recognizable for his avocation, refereeing high school basketball, football, baseball, and girls’ softball games across the region; he’s also done some refereeing for college-level basketball, as well.

Among his future goals, Turner outlined, “continued building of our regional park, expansion of our fire department through a substation in the most needed area of the city, and putting unused publicly-owned properties back on the tax books to help reduce the rising costs to the citizens.”

In the latter category, Turner has urged the local school system to subdivide and sell part of its unused property near I-85/40 and South Main Street, specifically part of the land surrounding the Ray Street Academy, for commercial development.

Filing for Graham city council, and other local city and town councils and boards of aldermen, opens July 2.

There are two seats on the council on the ballot this year – Turner’s and first-term council member Melody Wiggins, a retired director of Graham’s parks and recreation department.

The mayor’s term is for two years; council terms are for four years.