By D.X.D. Hall. October 11, 2019. BLOWING ROCK — Produced by the Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce and co-hosted by Blowing Rock News, this year’s CANDIDATES FORUM (5:30 pm, at the newly renovated Blowing Rock School Auditorium) features all five candidates for the three open Town Council seats. The format promises lively discussion and an opportunity to understand contrasting views of issues pertinent to Blowing Rock.
All Blowing Rock citizens are invited and encouraged to attend. Admission is free.
While incumbent Mayor Charlie Sellers is running for re-electoin unopposed, there are four candidates for the two seats up for election on the Blowing Rock Board of Commissioners. The candidates include incumbents Albert Yount and Jim Steele, who will likely be pointing out any and all accomplishments during the terms in which they have served, as well ap providing a glimpse at what they see for the future of the town.
It starts with our responsibility as voters to know and understand the candidates: how they think, what they value, and how they articulate and act upon those values.
Challengers for the two board positions include former commissioner Ray Pickett and Planning Board chairman David Harwood, each hoping to unseat an incumbent by bringing a presumably fresh viewpoint, as well as another skill set to the work of the Town Council.
“This is a great opportunity to become familiar with the candidates before you vote,” observed David Rogers, editor of Blowing Rock News, co-host of the event. “Whether you agree or disagree with the decisions of our current Board of Commissioners, it is important to understand that the entire process of governance in our representative form of government begins BEFORE we get to the ballot box. It starts with our responsibility as voters to know and understand the candidates: how they think, what they value, and how they articulate and act upon those values. We can be critical of Town Council decisions all we want, but at the end of the day we, the voters, are the ones who put them in those seats to make those decisions for us.”
We can be critical of Town Council decisions all we want, but at the end of the day we, the voters, are the ones who put them in those seats to make those decisions for us.
While not dissimilar to previous candidate forums, this year’s event will feature opening and closing statements, a random selection “draw” of issue-oriented questions, as well as questions from the audience. The event organizing committee has allotted time segments totaling a maximum of 90 minutes, with candidates invited to stay afterward to field any additional questions from audience members, one on one.
As before, the Chamber’s Leadership Challenge alumni are producing the event, but it differs in one major modification: the random draw, issue-based questions were developed by the Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce’s Board of Directors. Consequently, it is possible that each question will have been framed with the needs of the local business community at least in mind (but, to be fair, not necessarily).
Current Chamber president, Billy Chick (manager of the local Edward Jones & Co. branch) will serve as primary moderator of the forum, assisted by Speckled Trout co-owner Erica Brinker. The Chamber’s CEO, Charles Hardin will serve as emcee and members of the Leadership Challenge alumni group will serve as ushers and audience question facilitators.