Phyllis Portie-Ascott was chosen Feb. 7 by the Orange County Board of Commissioners to fill the vacancy on the board created by Renee Price’s election to the N.C. House of Representatives. She was sworn in to her seat prior to the Board of Commissioners' Feb. 16 work session with Rep. Valerie Foushee administering the oath of office.
Portie-Ascott was chosen unanimously from among four candidates who had applied and gone through the interview process with leadership from the Orange County Democratic Party. Portie-Ascott received the party’s recommendation, but the Board of Commissioners could have chosen any candidate.
“Folks in the community suggested I step up and serve in this capacity,” said Portie-Ascott. “After I reflected on it and discussed it with my family, I thought, ‘Okay this is a different way to serve the community.’ So I’m excited.”
She will fill the remaining two years of Price’s term, through the end of November 2024.
Portie-Ascott grew up in a tobacco farming family in Bertie County. She has been active in the Orange County Democratic Party and the Northern Orange NAACP. She also served on the Orange County Public Schools' Equity Task Force. This is her first political office, and she’s ready to hit the ground running.
“I am looking forward to collaborating with my fellow commissioners to address the affordable housing crisis and to talk through what else we can to do address the behavioral health concerns our community is facing,” she said.
Other candidates were Horace Johnson, Brenda Stephens and Natalie Ziemba.