Harper grew up on a farm in Huntington, NY, sharing a two bedroom house with his parents, five siblings, and grandparents. It was there he learned the importance of a strong work ethic, gratitude, and caring for others less fortunate, values he has carried with him throughout his life.
A graduate of The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Harper was inducted into the institution’s oldest and most prestigious honors society, the Order of the Golden Fleece, and received All-American honors in lacrosse. Upon graduating, he volunteered as an English teacher in Thailand before moving to New Hanover County in the ‘70s. Harper is married, has five children and one grandson, and he and his wife Plunkett are partners in several local businesses.
Harper served on Wilmington City Council from 1995-1999, and as Wilmington Mayor from 2001-2003. He is a founding member of Cape Fear River Watch and Clean Cape Fear, established the Northside Plan, Affordable Housing Task Force, Mayor’s Task Force on Disabilities, Mayor’s Task Force on the Arts, served on the NC General Assembly’s Wilmington 1898 Race Riot Commission 2001-2006, and has been a staunch advocate for the Film Industry. He has been instrumental in spearheading a variety of economic development activities including the New Hanover County Room Occupancy Tax, Northside Plan and sustaining the Wilmington Riverwalk initiative.
"I'm voting for Harper Peterson because we need leadership that understands what the small business owners go through and Harper's been a successful business person in this community for many years."
— Terry Espy, Small Business Owner
“I've known Harper Peterson for 30 years. He supports our right to clean drinking water and he will not put corporate interests over the public's right to clean water”
— Pam Kittredge, Realtor