LETTERS / My Campaign Promise: Integrity

Published Wednesday, October 16, 2013 at 12:46 pm

Dear Editor,          

            Dear Residents of Boone,  I filed as a write-in candidate the first week of September, approximately two months past the deadline to file for candidacy to be on the ballot. I have been criticized for this because some believe this decision characterizes me as indecisive. However, this characterization could not be further from the truth. I had considered running for Town Council this past winter. I knew when the filing deadline was. I let it pass, because I wanted to focus on my future rather than put myself in the ring with the party machines of Boone.

            I am writing this letter to address the entire community at one time, with one message: God put this on my heart. I had hoped for a candidate that could change things. After consideration and prayer I decided to run for Mayor for you, your family, your livelihood, your neighborhood, your church, your parks, your schools, your public works and utilities, your police department, your fire department, and everything else that comes with being a resident of Boone.

            After I let the filing deadline pass, I read about the candidates for the offices of Mayor and Town Council. I studied what I could about those I had little knowledge of and brushed up on the facts about those who I already knew as public figures. One thing was clear: due to each mayoral candidate’s party loyalties there are certainly political intentions that could deepen ongoing conflicts in our local government. I was deeply disappointed by the choices we had for mayor and was hoping for someone that was above party politics. I am writing this to address the entire community at one time, with one message: God put this on my heart, and I will not stop fighting for this community in this election.

            Throughout this past year there have been numerous instances of partisan tug-of-war between the Boone Town Council and the County Commission. One of the most notable is the battle over Affordable Housing and the Old Watauga High School Property. The County had an offer on the property, but the Town didn’t like the bidder. The Boone Town Council then decided to commission a study to report on the housing needs in Boone. The study was not contracted to our affordable housing experts at ASU, but rather to a consulting firm in New Hampshire costing taxpayers $35, 000. The sale was still in progress, so the Council took action to pass new regulations BEFORE the study was completed. The new restrictions killed the sale for the County which resulted in them taking a $2 million portion of Boone’s sales tax. No matter what anyone tries to tell you, this happened because the Democratic Council made efforts to undermine the Republican authority of the county and to further a personal agenda against the property bidder with Republican connections. There is nothing wrong with being a member of a party or supporting a party platform. There is a serious problem with allowing those partisan lines to be the guiding light in decision-making.

            I am not going to make any policy promises to you because, honestly, I don’t know if I could keep them. The reality is there are three open seats on the Town Council. I have no idea what group of people I would be working with. Therefore, I don’t know what we would be able to accomplish together. If I were to make promises that I was not sure could be kept, then I would be behaving just like other politicians in the world who tell voters anything to get elected. I want to be better than that. You all deserve better than that. I can make a few promises to you though and these are them:

1.  I promise I will and would never lie. I wouldn’t lie about policy, I wouldn’t hide my opinion, I wouldn’t mislead the town on any issue, and I would never cover up any sort of information that should be passed along to all the residents of Boone.

2.  I promise there would not be one secret meeting called if I am elected to office. No citizen would have to wonder or conspire about what their Council is doing and why it’s being done.

3.  I promise every citizen’s application would be read and considered for any board, task force, or committee he or she applies to, regardless of party affiliation. Any and every qualified applicant will be given fair treatment and appointed appropriately.

4.  I promise not to waste any more tax dollars fighting spiteful law suits.

5.  I promise I will never buy into the local party politics. The truth is I think Democrats do some things very well and I think Republicans do some things very well. Usually, both are right in different ways. I will tirelessly engage in mediation, consideration, and compromise between the Town, the County, Appalachian State University, and the residents of Boone.

6.  I promise to start a conversation to eliminate or revise “bad” policies of Boone. There is such a thing as too much regulation, but of course, some regulatory policy is necessary.

7.  I promise to repair the relationship between the Town and the County in any way I possibly can. I will do this by consulting and including the opinions of the Commission when it’s appropriate. The best policy comes when we all work together.

8.  I promise to facilitate as much involvement with the University and the Town as possible. Rather than spend tens of thousands of tax payer dollars to contract a “study,” we can use the experts and students at Appalachian for help, research, and planning. Appalachian is one of our greatest resources and it is a shame not to take full advantage of every opportunity to enrich their learning community and our living community.

9.  I promise to never stop asking questions. Every day, week, and month after the election I will still be here. I will be asking what I can do for you.

            I don’t want to be a politician. I don’t view any of you as constituents. I am honestly just a hometown girl that wants to change the conversation, change the agenda, and bring back balance to Boone. I love this town. This is my only home. I made the decision to be a write-in because Boone deserves that kind of candidate, a candidate above party politics. Every town does. I am willing to step-up. I will keep working for you, I will keep working for Boone, and I will keep trying to earn your vote.

Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.

Philippians 2:4 NLT

 

Have a blessed day,

Jenny Church

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