Municipal election candidates speak on issues at public forum

(Left to right) Boone mayoral candidates Andy Ball, Brad Harmon, Jenny Church and John Mena speak to community members at the “Meet the Candidates” forum held Tuesday. Photo by Molly Cogburn  |  The Appalachian
A “Meet the Candidates” forum was held Tuesday evening in the Town Council Chamber to allow Boone residents to become more acquainted with the candidates running in the upcoming municipal elections.

The four candidates running for mayor – Andy Ball, Brad Harmon, Jenny Church and John Mena – were all present.

Rennie Brantz, Quint David, Matt Long, James Milner, Jennifer Peña and Mark Templeton are the six candidates running for the three open spots on the town council.

Approximately 60 Boone residents were present. The 10 candidates were asked a series of questions read by a moderator. Each had two minutes to reply.

Candidates were questioned on topics such as the relationship between Boone and Watauga County, flooding concerns, sustainability, small businesses in Boone and the relationship between the town and Appalachian State University.

There were differing opinions from the candidates about the strength of the relationship between the university and Boone, however, all agreed that it is important for the two to work together.

Mayoral candidate Andy Ball said he has “progressive principles,” and that the relationship between the town and university has never been stronger.

Mayoral candidate Brad Harmon said he would like to see more involvement with students and would like increased opportunities for the town and Appalachian to work together to arise, because he believes students could have the solutions to problems in Boone.

“I want to see more involvement with the students – they are the next generation,” Harmon said.

All candidates said that they would be interested in seeing an increased partnership between the university and the Town of Boone.

“Appalachian is the most under-utilized resource we have in Boone, from the students that go there and the programs they offer,” Templeton said. “I would like to see an internship program started to get Appalachian students involved in the local economy.”

Quint David, also an Appalachian alumnus, said he is running for a spot on the town council with the environment and sustainability in Boone specifically in mind.

“I have no political or personal interest in this election, I want to remind everyone that I am a committed, long-time Boone resident,” David said. “I have the training and background that Boone needs to continue to meet economic, environmental sustainability and smart growth challenges.”

Brantz, an adjunct instructor in the Department of History, said he should be re-elected after having spent the past eight years as a member of the town council because of his experience, town knowledge and “good old common sense.”

Registration to vote on Election Day ends Friday.

Story: NICOLE CAPORASO, Intern News Reporter
Photo: MOLLY COGBURN, Intern Photographer

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