By Jesse Wood
The Boone Area Chamber of Commerce sponsored a “Meet the Candidates” forum on Tuesday inside the Watauga County Courthouse in an effort to inform voters about local issues and the candidates up for election.
Early voting for the general election started at the end of last week and will continue through Saturday, Nov. 5. Election day is Tuesday, Nov. 8, and while same-day registration is available during early voting, that is not an option during Election Day. Click here for dates, times and locations regarding.
Most of the candidates for U.S. House District 5, N.C. 24th Judicial District, Watauga County Board of Education, Watauga County Board of Commissioners, N.C. Governor, N.C. Senate District 45 and N.C. House District 93 attended.
The format of the forum was round robin, where each candidate had to the opportunity to answer a question first. The Boone Area Chamber moderator and audience asked questions. Each participant was introduced and gave a closing statement.
See closing statements per race below:
Rep. Virginia Foxx (I) (R) v. Josh Brannon (D)
Watauga Commissioners: District 1, 2 and 4
Six candidates are running for three seats on the Watauga County Board of Commissioners, which is broken into five districts. Three of those district seats are up for election:
District 1: Perry Yates (I) (R) v. Diane Blanks (D)
District 2: Elizabeth Shukis v. Welch (I) (D)
District 4: David Blust (I) (R) v. Larry Turnbow (D)
Watauga County Board of Education
Incumbents Barbara Kinsey, Brenda Reese and Ron Henries and former education board member Steve Combs are running for three seats on the school board.
State House, State Senate and N.C. Governor Races
Gov. Pat McCrory and gubernatorial challenger Roy Cooper didn’t grace the stage with their presence on Tuesday, but libertarian Lon Cecil did. Candidates for N.C. House District 93 – incumbent Republican Rep. Jonathan Jordan and Democratic challenger Sue Counts – and N.C. Senate 45 District (Republican Rep. Deanna Ballard and Democratic challenger Art Sherwood – also answered questions from the moderator.
*I = Incumbent
*R & D = Republican and Democrat