By Nathan Ham
This election season’s Meet the Candidates Forum sponsored by the Boone Area and Blowing Rock Chambers of Commerce will have a different feel to it this Thursday. The forum will not be open to the public, however, there will numerous places to watch or listen to the candidates speak.
The forum will last from 5:30 p.m. until 9 p.m. at the Appalachian Theatre. The forum will be broadcast live on AppTV which is available on Spectrum and Skybest TV in Watauga County. It will also stream live on the Boone Chamber of Commerce’s Facebook page and YouTube channel. The forum can be heard live on WATA Radio (96.5 FM, 1450 AM).
Races that will have candidates speaking will include the U.S. House of Representatives, Watauga County Commissioner, N.C. Senate, N.C. House of Representatives, and Watauga County Board of Education.
All candidates have confirmed their appearance except for Republican Rep. Virginia Foxx who may not be able to attend due to potential active congressional session.
Confirmed candidates include Democrat David Wilson Brown who is challenging Foxx for her representative seat. Democrat Carrington Pertalion and Republican Todd Castle are vying for the county commissioner seat in District 1. Incumbent Democrat John Welch is running unopposed for the District 2 commissioner seat. In the District 5 commissioner race, incumbent Democrat Charlie Wallin and Republican challenger Bart Keller will be in attendance.
In the N.C. Senate and N.C. House races, all four candidates are confirmed to be there. Incumbent Republican Sen. Deanna Ballard is being challenged by Democrat Jeanne Supin and incumbent Democrat Rep. Ray Russell is being challenged by Republican Ray Pickett.
Each of the four candidates for the Watauga County Board of Education will be speaking. Steve Combs is the lone incumbent in the race. Marshall Ashcraft, Jason Cornett, and Ronny Holste are the other three seeking to win a school board seat.
Questions will be asked of all the candidates in a round-robin format; each having an opportunity to answer first, but all answering the same question.
Members of the community are encouraged to submit questions in advance by emailing [email protected].
All questions will be asked by the moderator. Each response will have a 90-second time limit and each candidate will have a 2-minute opening and closing statement. This forum is not intended to be a debate between candidates, but rather an opportunity for citizens to hear each candidate’s position on topics of importance.