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Jeanmychal "John" Thorpe was born and raised in Burlington North Carolina. His mother and father, Mavis & Juan Thorpe moved to Alamance County from Durham when Burlington Industries hired his father as a truck driver in 1979, and his mother became a Daycare teacher at Colorful Harvest. John was born October 13 1988, and he grew up attending Eastlawn Elementary School, Broadview Middle School, and Fairchild Summer Camps.
While at Broadview Middle School, John took part in the Alamance County Junior Police Academy program and won the award for Most Improved by learning discipline, leadership, and team work. When his uncle, the Reverend Richard Corpening, became the pastor at St. Matthews AME Church in Burlington, John became very involved in church. In addition, he started attending Word of Life youth services. John became a frequent volunteer for multiple events held by each of these churches.
In 2005 while a sophomore at Hugh M. Cummings High School, John became a student leader by speaking out against Judge Howard Manning, after Judge Manning's order for closing Cummings and eighteen other public schools in North Carolina. Interviewed and quoted about this by The Burlington Times-News, young Thorpe became very popular among students. This was his introduction to politics and government. As a junior in high school, John approached Assistant Principal Bonnie Roane, and with her permission, he organized the talent show "Rhyme for Reason," collecting canned food and other nonperishable goods to give the Allied Churches of Alamance County (ACAC) food pantry. As a senior, John Thorpe organized a basketball game between the students and teachers, to raise money for Cummings High School Athletic Department.
After graduating high school, John Thorpe attended Alamance County Community College and was elected as treasurer of the Spanish Club. Using that leadership base he helped finance community clean-ups in properties of both the Burlington and Graham housing authorities. The Spanish Club group also financed meals and Christmas gifts for people in need. In 2007, he helped knock on doors for Senator Barack Obama's presidential campaign. In the summer of 2008, John interned for defense attorney David Rimmington and paralegal Emily Robinson, (daughter of long time Alamance County Sheriff Terry Johnson) at Liberty Law Offices in Graham.
John majored in political science at Norfolk State University and was a member of the political science club. He worked directly with the seven cities of Hampton Roads, (Chesapeake, Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Suffolk, and Virginia Beach) to set up programs to house the homeless. Invited to become a poll worker in that area, he declined after joining U.S. Congressman Bobby Scott's re-election campaign, seeing it as a conflict of interest.
After finishing at Norfolk State, Thorpe accepted a position as a clerk at Resource Exchange Association, a nonprofit organization in Graham. John also decided to further his education at North Carolina Agricultural & Teachnical State University. Three years later, John began work as an auditor with NM Investment.
While advancing in the private sector John continued to be an activist in the community, he become a familiar face at city council and board of education meetings. In 2015 he stood along side of Glen Raven CEO Allen Gant and successfully fought to improve funding for Alamance-Burlington School System. John urged full funding for the public schools during Alamance County Commissioners budget hearing. The Burlington Times-News quoted his passionate remarks.
Thorpe has engaged in issues beyond Alamance County. He stood vocally with the North Eastern Randolph Property Owners (NERPO) to resist the eminent domain procedure for an industrial "Megasite" in rural Rendolph County. He went to Winston-Salem on the first day of NAACP vs. McCrory to support the legal challenge brought by the NAACP and others against the state's 2013 law restricting voting rights. He believes "One doesn't obtain the right to vote after being granted proper identification, and the Constitution doesn't allow a state to strip the right if you don't have it." The US 4th Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with Mr. THorpe and recently overturned the 2013 law.
On August 17 2015, John Thorpe hosted a fundraiser and announced his candidacy for North Carolina State Senate District 24. Supporters present, included Burlington's Mayor Ian Baltutis, Alamance County School Board member Patsy Simpson, Mr. Black North Carolina Lavarn Turner, President of Alamance County Civic Affairs Dorothy Yarborough, Community Activist Kendell McBroom, Alamance County Commissioner Robert "Bob" Byrd, former candidate for N.C. Lieutenant Governor Ron Newton, former president of Mecklenburg County Democratic Party Cathy Chapmen, members of the NAACP, along with his family and others.
Although Thorpe was running for office, he still continues his community activies. He frequently volunteered in the food program at Bynum Education Center; and spoke in favor of keeping Alamance Foods in Alamance County. He worked with former Burlington City Manager Harold Owen, President of Alamance Community College Algie Gatewood, executive director of Hayden-Harman Patrick Harman, and United Way of Alamance County President Heidi Norwick to get Translink bus stops in Graham. Thorpe makes it clear that he believes local residents should run local governments. No where is this more evident than in his remarks to the Alamance County Commissioners addressing race relations during the controversy concerning the statue at the Alamance County historical courthouse. As a result Thorpe was elected the chair of the West Burlington Precinct, and was re-elected in 2017.
On November 7th 2016 John Thorpe came up just short to incumbent NC Sentor Rick Gunn. Althought Thorpe lost he had a very impressive showing by receiving 32,888 votes. After the election John took a job at General Electric Industrial Solutions in Mebane, NC. On June 10th 2017 John married Shakima Torain Thorpe whom is a member of Orange County Emergency Services and a graduate of Elon University.
In May 2017 John Thorpe stood up at a fundraiser and announced his candidancy for his hometown Burlington City Council, receiving well wishes from current Burlington City Counilwoman Katy Hikes, and fellow candidate Yvette Gaboury. John is a member of Ebenezer United Church of Christ.
Proudly a "homegrown native" of Burlington, John Thorpe at twenty-eight years old is a promising star. Leadership abilities emerged early and grew fast, they continue expanding with every challenge. Thorpe's community service and engagement with serious issues demonstrates his commitment to equality, education, sustainable growth and jobs. A passion for the elderly and for children sustains his energy. Will you join us in voting for a man for today and tomorrow?