Last night, Wake County Commissioner Jessica Holmes abruptly resigned. Today, she changed her mind.
Here is her full statement:
Yesterday, I shared my plan to resign my position from the Wake County Board of Commissioners. Serving the people of Wake County has been a privilege for which I am incredibly thankful. An opportunity had presented itself to me, and in part out of frustration, I had decided to pursue it. With the long awaited vote for the creation of Wake County’s first ever affordable housing committee, I felt proud for breathing life into an issue that has impacted me and my family and many others across our county and State. With this issue on track, I felt that I could step aside.
The overwhelming voice of my constituents has been for me to lead this work as chair of the affordable housing committee and continue pounding the pavement. This immense response from the community has encouraged me to reconsider this decision. Based on this calling, I am abandoning my original decision to resign and will stay to complete my term as a commissioner serving the community that I love. My apologies to those who were confused or upset by this decision.
On Monday night, Holmes took time during the closing of the meeting to talk about an affordable housing vote she won.
“I’d like to take this time to say that serving Wake County has been one of the best experiences of my life and I’m humbled to have had the opportunity. I feel like at this point I have a record that I am very proud of,” she said. “I’ve been very proud to advocate for education and for child hunger, and to breathe life into the affordable housing conversation.”
Then it took a turn.
“Not all of my goals have been accomplished but I do feel that I would be leaving the board in excellent hands,” she continued. “So I therefore resign my position as Wake County Commissioner, and I will work with staff and my party to ensure a smooth transition and to make sure the goals I have will continue to move forward, as I’m sure they will be with the members of this board… I’m really excited about watching [the affordable housing] effort move forward.”
Fellow commissioners Matt Calabria and John Burns were stunned by her decision.
“This is really a shock to everybody,” Calabria told the INDY last night. “People run for positions, that sort of thing happens all the time, but resignations are on a different order of magnitude.”
Reached for comment today, Calabria told the INDY: “I’m very glad to welcome her back. I know we all are. I’m looking forward to continuing our work together.”
“Now we get back to work on all seven Commissioner’s shared focus on a robust transit system, affordable housing, and equal opportunity,” Wake County Democratic Party chair Brian Fitzsimmons said. “There’s so much to do, and Wake County is incredibly lucky to have the Board of Commissioners it does leading the charge.”
“We find ourselves in a situation where we are working to replace the ONLY woman on the Wake Board of Commissioners,” Fitzsimmons said in a statement on Monday night after Holmes’ original announcement. “We find ourselves in a situation where we aren’t working to INCREASE the representation of people of color, but to, at best, keep it static. These two situations are, by any measure, unacceptable.”
At this point, it’s unclear what “opportunity” presented itself to her, but for now, it looks like Holmes will resume leading the effort on affordable housing. A story on that will be in tomorrow’s paper.
We’ll have more as this story unfolds.