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South Whidbey port commissioner accepts job in N.C.

Port of South Whidbey Commissioner Chris Jerome, above, has taken a job on the East Coast. His first day is Jan. 9.  - Record file
Port of South Whidbey Commissioner Chris Jerome, above, has taken a job on the East Coast. His first day is Jan. 9.
— image credit: Record file

The departure of one Langley couple will result in political change this year.

Chris Jerome, a commissioner with the Port of South Whidbey, has accepted a job in North Carolina and will start his new position Jan. 9.

His wife, Langley City Councilwoman-elect Margot Jerome, will stay in Langley at least until their daughter graduates from high school in June.

“I’m gutted, absolutely gutted,” she said. “But Chris has an amazing job, unlike any other job, in North Carolina that was too good to turn down.”

Chris Jerome has worked for years as a medical research consultant from their South Whidbey home. He was offered a position with Wake Forest Innovations, a department of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.

“I wasn’t looking for anything,” he said. “They approached me about the position.

“Mostly, it was just a really good career opportunity for me. It combines my scientific and management background in a way that I’ve not been able to do the last seven or eight years.”

After many years of moving for work, they thought Langley would be their final relocation nearly two decades ago. They leave the city they have called home for the past 17 years, the longest Chris has lived in any single place, his wife said.

For her, it comes just as she started her political life after being elected to the Langley City Council in November 2013. She helped organize and run the three-part Langley Economic Forum this past fall and was eager to listen to Langley’s residents and business owners for what they wanted from City Hall.

Until they are certain she will move from Langley — selling their house is just one of the factors in when she will head east — Margot Jerome will stay on the city council. An exact date of her departure was not set in stone.

“There are too many unknowns at this point,” she said.

If and when she leaves, the city council may appoint someone to fill the vacated office until the next regular election.

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