Ellen Reckhow has served for 24 years on the Durham County Board of Commissioners, including six as chair and 12 as vice-chair. Education, sustainable economic development, and safe neighborhoods are the issues she considers most important. Representing the board, she has served as chair and vice-chair for numerous groups including the Durham Crime Cabinet, the board of Triangle Transit Authority, the Transportation Advisory Board, and the North Carolina Association of Counties Board of Directors. She was a founder of the East Durham Children’s Initiative (modeled on Harlem Children’s Zone) and currently serves as its co-chair. At Reckhow’s suggestion, the commissioners established a City-County Environmental Affairs Board in 1991 to help them make informed decisions about issues such as watershed and natural resource protection, environmental education, green building design, energy conservation, and the environmental impacts of industrial development. After receiving an undergraduate degree in economics from Boston University and a masters degree in city and regional planning from Harvard, she worked as a city planner for Newton, Massachusetts, and as a redevelopment coordinator and senior planner for Lansing, Michigan.