By Nathan Ham
Following last week’s candidate roundtable sponsored by the Blowing Rock Civic Association, residents in the community have one more opportunity to hear four town council candidates and Mayor Charlie Sellers answer questions on a wide variety of topics.
The Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce will be hosting a candidates’ forum on Monday, October 14 at 5:30 p.m. at the Blowing Rock School auditorium.
The forum is produced by the Blowing Rock Leadership Challenge alumni group that has about 90 different alumni members inside and outside the Blowing Rock area, according to Charles Hardin, the President of the Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce.
Hardin said that the event will last an hour and a half and is the first organized event to be held in the Blowing Rock School auditorium since some new upgrades had been made inside the building.
“The format will include five questions that we have from issues sourced from the chamber board, leaders in town and the town manager to determine the biggest issues facing this council in the next two years,” Hardin said. “We will go through that and then we will go through questions from the audience. Questions will be written on a card and handed in. We will then sit down and look at the questions to make sure they haven’t already been asked and that it’s not a question that is going to be embarrassing for a candidate to answer or directed at somebody to make them look bad.”
The candidates will have no prior access to any of the questions.
“This forum is free and open to everyone. We’re not focused on any single thing, we’re focused on overall issues for the town which we think are important,” Hardin added. “We hope to have as many people as we can fit in the auditorium.”
The forum will be moderated by Billy Chick, who is an alumnus of the Blowing Rock Leadership Challenge and is the current chairman of the Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce Board. Erica Brinker is a member of the 2019 class of leadership challenge graduates and will be an assistant moderator keeping the time for each answer.
Each candidate will draw a number and they will be presented with that question. They will get two minutes to answer the question and each of the other candidates will get one minute to add on to that answer or come up with an answer of their own.
Mayor Sellers is running unopposed on November 5. Incumbent council members Albert Yount and Jim Steele are facing challenges from David Harwood and Ray Pickett.