Mark Kleinschmidt is the mayor of Chapel Hill and has served in that role since 2009.

Kleinschmidt is a mayor of many firsts. He is the first openly gay mayor in Chapel Hill history and the fifth openly gay North Carolinian to be elected in the state's history. He is also the first Chapel Hill mayor to be elected as part of the town's publicly financed voter-owned-election program. Before becoming mayor, Kleinschmidt served two terms on the Chapel Hill Town Council, one from 2001 to 2005 and the other from 2005 to 2009. Kleinschmidt was elected as mayor in December of 2009 and was re-elected in 2011.

 Courtesy of townofchapelhill

Personal Information

Mark Kleinschmidt was born at Scott Air Force Base in Belleville, Ill. Though he traveled around the country as a part of a military family, he claims his experience as a student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill was transformative and views Chapel Hill as his hometown. Kleinschmidt spends his free time with his friends and family. His father, Jim Kleinschmidt, is a retired U.S. Air Force chief master sergeant and his mother, Marge Kleinschmidt, is a retired nurse. Kleinschmidt's twin sister, Michelle Kleinschmidt-Hoover, is married and lives in Durham. Kleinschmidt can be found on Twitter and Facebook.


Professional Life

After graduating from UNC-Chapel Hill's first Teaching Fellows class in 1992, Kleinschmidt began his career as a social studies teacher at West Mecklenburg High School in Charlotte. After returning to UNC-Chapel Hill to pursue a law degree, he became a staff attorney for the Center for Death Penalty Litigation in 2000, and he also served as executive director of the Fair Trial Initiative (FTI) starting in 2006. Kleinschmidt began serving on the Chapel Hill Town Council in 2001, and he served on the council until becoming mayor in 2009. 


Kleinschmidt has served on several committees and organizations throughout his political career, including the North Carolina American Civil Liberties Union, of which he was president from 2008 to 2009,  the International Network of Lesbian and Gay Officials and the North Carolina Democratic Party and Equality NC. He has also chaired the Council Economic Development Committee and the Council Communications Committee.


Kleinschmidt has served as Chapel Hill's mayor since December 2009, when he defeated Matt Czajkowski and was re-elected in 2011. As mayor, Kleinschmidt heads the Town Council and has the following responsibilities, according to the Town of Chapel Hill website

  • Amendment of previously adopted policies through changes in the Town Code of Ordinances and the Development Ordinance, and by revision of policies and documents.
  • Appointment of advisory boards, commissions, task forces and committees.
  • Appointment of the town manager and town attorney.
  • Establishment of agreements with other governments.

Since serving as mayor, Kleinschmidt left his position as executive director at FTI and joined the Tin Fulton Walker & Owen law firm, where he will primarily focus on criminal defense. 

Kleinschmidt  has been a vocal supporter of gay rights during his time as mayor. He spoke out against the passage of Amendment One, which called for a gay marriage ban. However, after North Carolina voters passed the amendment in 2012, Kleinschmidt wrote a column on The Huffington Post explaining why people shouldn't boycott the state.