Thursday, May 30, 2024

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Graham, NC 27253
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Graham gets new mayor, its first woman: Jennifer Talley

Two new councilmen also sworn in; one of council’s first tasks: filling Talley’s vacant council seat       

State rep. Dennis Riddell noted the “historic” nature of Tuesday night in Graham’s city council chambers as he swore in Jennifer Talley as the city’s first woman mayor.

State rep. Dennis Riddell swore in Jennifer Talley as her husband Chuck held the Bible; son Carson is in the background.

Also on hand was one of two of the county’s other women mayors, Kelly Allen of Haw River.  Emily Sharpe in Elon is the third; she was sworn in last week.

Talley won the November election with 828 votes to 680 for fellow councilman Chip Turner, who sought the mayor’s post as long-time mayor decided to retire from the post.

Other new council members, who were sworn in by Alamance County clerk of court Meredith Edwards, were Bobby Chin and Joey Parsons with 685 and 663 votes, respectively.

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Bobby Chin, who was the high voter-getter in November’s election, was sworn in as a Graham city councilman Tuesday night; holding the Bible is his wife Karen.
Joey Parsons is sworn in as a Graham city councilman Tuesday night; his wife Angela holds the Bible as his daughter looks on.

They defeated council member Melody Wiggins, who sought a second, four-year term, but placed third for the two available seats with 540 votes.  Also trailing were Edith Montoya with 400 votes; Daniel Alvis with 309 votes; Jeanette Beaudry with 195 votes; and Brooke Flood with 119 votes.

As Talley noted in brief remarks, it was a “bittersweet” evening as long-time mayor Jerry Peterman retired from his 16-year tenure as the city’s mayor; Peterman was the first elected mayor in the city’s recent history.  Previously city councilmen selected the mayor from among their number.

The council also unanimously elevated Ricky Hall as the council’s mayor pro tem.

Graham city councilman Ricky Hall, the only councilman whose name was not on the November ballot, was sworn in as the city’s new mayor pro tem; his wife Judy Marie holds the Bible.

Meanwhile, the council discussed how they will go about filling the remaining two years of Talley’s city council term. [See separate story.]

[Story continues below.]

Procedure set for appointing replacement to serve final two years of Talley’s council term:

The new council: mayor Jennifer Talley, flanked by (left to right): councilman Bobby Chin; mayor pro tem Ricky Hall; and councilman Joey Parsons.

The outgoing council members met the previous night, inviting the incoming members to attend a work session with them. Mayor pro tem and council member Melody Wiggins left after that part of the meeting previewing the “old business” that they would deal with for a few minutes at the beginning of Tuesday night’s meeting – before the swearing in of the new mayor and city council members and the agenda they would face.

The work session atmosphere was more casual than the following night.

Outgoing mayor Jerry Peterman and mayor-elect Jennifer Talley during a city council work session on Monday night at a conference room at city hall.

On Tuesday night, at his final council meeting, departing mayor Jerry Peterman gave a few valedictory remarks before departing the council chambers with his wife Jan to a standing ovation from the audience.

Peterman’s voice came close to breaking as he noted that he wasn’t retiring, he was just “moving to a more important job,” as Pop Pop to his four-year old grandson.  But Peterman said regardless of where they are – Mesa, Arizona, where they plan to move to be near their son, daughter-in-law, and only grandson – Graham will always be their hometown.

Click below to hear his final comments

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