Candidate for Carrboro Mayor Damon Seils. (Photo Credit: Damon Seils)

Gay man Damon Seils has served as the chair of the Orange County Human Relations Commission, a board member of the Carolina Abortion Fund and a volunteer for the North Carolina AIDS Action Network. His is a name known to many in North Carolina. 

Although he’s not a native to Carrboro, Seils has called the town home for many years. Coinciding with the beginning of Pride month, he released a statement June 2, confirming he is running for the Office of Mayor there. Currently serving as a Carrboro Council Member, Seils also works at Duke University’s medical school as a communications specialist.

The footsteps that Seils is looking to follow in are those of current Carrboro mayor Lydia Lavelle. Ground-breaking in her own right, Lavelle was the first openly-lesbian mayor in North Carolina’s history. Elected in 2013, Lavelle has said she is ready to step down as mayor and pursue opportunities outside of local government. 

Mike Nelson served as North Carolina’s first openly gay mayor in Carrboro, from 1995 until 2005. Focusing on community issues such as economic equity and racial justice, one of Seil’s biggest priorities is continued development and publicizing the on government-lead website Carrboro Connects. This site was created as a way for Carrboro residents to interact with town council members, as well as the mayor, about any topics that affect their daily lives. Also featuring the town’s comprehensive plan, Carrboro Connects will help town officials determine changes to transit, land usage and affordable housing.

If elected, Seils believes his openness about his sexual orientation will have a similar impact on the town as Nelson did during his term. Nelson confirmed that his identity as a gay man had bearing on his professional decision making and placed him in the unique position of role model for the LGBTQ community. Seils shares those perspectives.

“We will hire a new town manager,” says Seils. “[We will] implement the Carrboro Connects comprehensive plan, and take lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure we are providing services to meet community needs and allocating our resources equitably.”

Additionally, Seils sees social media as a way to stay up to date on all happenings in Orange County and motivate positive change. On Twitter, he posts regularly about Campaigns to Stop Asian Hate and statewide anti-transgender bills like SB 514.

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