Graham city councilwoman Jennifer Talley today announces that she intends to run for mayor of Graham in this year’s upcoming election. Filing for municipal offices begins Friday at noon.
Talley, 51, will join fellow councilmember Chip Turner in running for the mayor’s seat being vacated by long-time mayor Jerry Peterman (see separate story this edition), who is not seeking a ninth mayoral term.
Talley was first elected to the city council in 2003 when she won a two-year term to complete the tenure of councilman Dan Horner, who had resigned when he moved to Burlington.
She won re-election in 2005, but did not seek re-election in 2009.
She ran again for city council 10 years later, in 2019, when her race focused on concerns with a consultant’s recommendations to make major changes in Graham’s downtown area, which Talley opposed.
Since her most recent election, Talley has been a strong proponent of residential development that is not too dense, a position that has often been at odds with some of her colleagues who have approved subdivisions that neighbors and Talley opposed as being too crowded – for traffic, property values, and other considerations.
Talley is an Alamance County native who went to Burlington schools and graduated magna cum laude from Elon College in 1990; she has a Master’s degree in business from the Bryan School of Business at UNC-Greensboro.
She and her husband, Chuck, own several small businesses in downtown Graham, including the Cinema Theater, Colonial Hardware, the Soda Shop, and Farm Services.
The Talleys have two children.
In terms of her focus in the upcoming mayor’s race, Talley says, “I am very committed to recruit new business to Graham that will add to our vibrant and active community.
“Graham,” she says, “is a very special place and its charm is what makes visitors fall in love once they discover it.
“Graham and small-town communities across the country will face several challenges moving forward and never has it been more important to have strong leadership.”
Among her priorities, Talley points to having been a “faithful advocate for our local law enforcement, keeping taxes low, supporting and recruiting new school options to Graham, and establishing entertainment venues that allow our local citizens and visitors to come together and make Graham a destination.”
Unlike Turner, who is giving up his council seat to seek the mayor’s post, Talley will continue to be a member of the city council until 2023, regardless of whether she wins the office of mayor.
If she wins, it will be the responsibility of Talley and the remaining three members of the council to select a fifth member to serve the remainder of her council term, until 2023.