By Nathan Ham
Two town council members chose not to seek re-election during last month’s election period. Lynne Mason and Marshall Ashcraft both decided to step away from their council responsibilities to pursue other endeavors.
Mason had been on the town council for five terms that spanned across 18 years. Ashcraft won a seat on the board in 2017 after retiring from his role as the Public Information Director for Watauga County Schools.
Both departing council members were presented with plaques for their service to the town and resolutions of appreciation from Boone Mayor Rennie Brantz.
In a previous interview with the High Country Press, Mason said that she is looking forward to spending more time with her grandchildren and still remaining an active member of the community. Mason spoke to the remaining board members as well as the large crowd in attendance that included some of her family.
“Thank you Boone Community for your confidence and trust in allowing me to serve our community over the past 18 years! What an honor and privilege it has been. I have enjoyed working with many community members, council members and town staff during my time on council,” Mason said. “I have learned so much and appreciate our very dedicated town staff in making council priorities happen. During my time on council, I have strived to make decisions that are in the community’s best interest.”
Mason also reflected back on some of the things she was most proud of during her time on the council, including securing the votes for the town to purchase the Appalachian Theatre, the Greenway expansion, safer pedestrian and bicycle travel, fare-free public transportation with he AppalCart and the new water intake project. She hopes that the new council will be able to put their own mark on the community in a positive way.
“I wish the new council success as they continue the work to preserve and enhance the quality of life so unique to Boone. Like many communities, Boone is growing, increasing by over 6,000 residents since I was first elected. The challenges are great as the new council balances responsible development while protecting our community character, neighborhoods and natural resources amid the realities of climate change,” Mason said. “This is not goodbye, as I will remain active in our community, and I am not closing the door to future opportunities to serve our great community, the community I have grown to love.”
Ashcraft was thankful for this time spent serving the town’s citizens and praised the public workers and town staff as well for everything they have done to help make life better in Boone.
“They are what makes our work as a council possible, the service we provide to the citizens really comes through the town staff,” he said. “It has been an honor and a privilege an I thank you all.”
His brief words of advice for this council was to remember who they are serving.
“I hope that you will listen to each other with respect, speak with restraint and that you will always remember that your first duty is to the citizens of this town. I think you all have that commitment,” Ashcraft said.
Instead of stepping out of the public service limelight, Ashcraft has announced that he will seek a position on the Watauga County Board of Education in the 2020 election to continue serving the community.