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Progressives File Candidacy for Blowing Rock, Boone 2013 Municipal Elections on Friday, Ball for Mayor

Update: Ray Pickett, a registered Republican, was the last filing to occur on Friday. He is running for Blowing Rock Town Council.

By Jesse Wood

July 5, 2013. Candidacy filing for 2013 municipal elections in Watauga County began at noon. As soon as the doors to the Watauga County Board of Elections’ office opened, six candidates for Boone and Blowing Rock town councils forked over the required $5 to register to run in the upcoming “nonpartisan” elections in November. 

The six candidates who filed immediately are as follows:

  • Andy Ball for Mayor of Boone
  • Jennifer Pena for Boone Town Council
  • Rennie Brantz for Boone Town Council
  • Frank “Quint” David for Boone Town Council
  • Doug Matheson for Blowing Rock Town Council
  • Sue Sweeting for Blowing Rock Town Council
Filing 2
Watauga County Board of Elections Director Jane Hodges gives her “sermon” to candidates filing to run for Boone offices in November. From left, Andy Ball, Rennie Brantz, Quint David, and Jennifer Pena. Mayor Loretta Clawson (right), who is not seeking re-election, looks on. Photo by Jesse Wood – See more photos below..

None of the six candidates are conservative. The presence of the Watauga County Democratic Party was evident at the board of elections office on Friday as representatives gathered to show support of the candidates.

Five of the six are registered Democrats, according to a voter database at N.C. Board of Elections’ website. The lone “unaffiliated” registered candidate in the group is David. However on Friday, he said he “heavily leans” towards the Democratic Party.

Current Town of Boone Mayor Loretta Clawson was present. Although she isn’t running for election again, she showed up in support of Ball, who eventually may succeed her, and the other progressive candidates running for local office.

As the crowd gathered in the lobby of the Watauga County Courthouse before the filings began, Clawson exclaimed, “It’s exciting.”

After the immediate filings, Clawson said this was the first time she hasn’t entered the elections’ office to file in 16 years and added that not running for re-election lifts a huge “weight” off of her shoulders.

“I am happy to pass on the torch,” Clawson said, adding that all of the candidates running for Boone offices listed above “really believe in the Town of Boone.”

With the filing period lasting for two weeks until July 19, more folks are expected to file. Elections Director Jane Hodges said that usually Beech Mountain candidates wait until the final day to file, while candidates for Blowing Rock and Seven Devils trickle in throughout the two-week period. 

Click here to read what other seats are up for election in Watauga County’s municipalities. 

The Town of Boone candidates each had prepared statements for the media. Read the unedited statements below.

Andy Ball

Two-term Council member Andy Ball filed for Mayor of Boone today at the Watauga Board of Elections office. Ball, 30, brings leadership experience at Appalachian State University, advocacy on neighborhood and environmental issues, and service leadership on the Boone Town Council and in civic organizations. “The next few years are very promising for Boone,” Ball said, “and I’m asking for the opportunity to serve as Mayor to help lead the way.”

With his first election in 2009, Ball became the second ASU student to serve on the Boone Town Council. Councilman Ball studied Government and Public Policy at ASU, and has worked for years in the local hospitality industry and as an independent consultant. He was most recently elected 3rd Vice Chair of the North Carolina Democratic Party. Ball Serves on the Board of Directors of AppalCart Transit Authority, and PHARMN, a nonprofit collaborative supporting the Watauga County Farmer’s Market. Ball also serves as Council liaison on the Boone Transportation Committee and the Watauga Economic Development Commission.

In addition to the Mayor’s primary function as presiding officer of the Town Council, another role has been to establish and communicate a clear vision for Boone’s future, a discussion Ball sees many opportunities for. “As University enrollment steadily increases, new questions arise for Town leaders as to how we manage our resources, and plan our growth. We have to retain our small town culture and vibrant downtown areas, while making improvements to our transit infrastructure for pedestrians, cyclists and vehicle traffic. We must do more to protect our air and water quality, while encouraging more housing density closer to the University. These are important discussions, and they require a forward thinking Council and proven leadership to bring everyone in our community to the table.

“My goal is to find new ways to protect the quality of life for all those who live, work and study in Boone. Toward that end, residents can expect a continued commitment to environmental stewardship, ongoing water conservation measures, infrastructure investment including expanded sidewalk and bike lane routes, and a focus on protecting existing single family neighborhoods from incompatible development.”

“Mayor Clawson has set a tremendous example, and I will work to continue her advocacy for road improvements, more trees and green space, support for Boone’s cultural heritage, and a fiscally responsible approach to the budget.”

Ball has remained involved with the North Carolina League of Municipalities, being selected for their Local Elected Leaders Academy. He also serves as Deputy State Director for the Young Elected Officials Network, and as an elected delegate to the 2012 DNC in Charlotte, NC.

[email protected]

Jennifer Pena

Today, I announce my candidacy for a seat on the Boone Town Council.

I am proud to call Boone home, as a wife, mother, and a concerned citizen. My husband Gus and I feel so privileged to raise our four-year-old daughter Vivian in this beautiful place.

I teach history at Wilkes Community College, so I have a professional commitment to celebrate and protect the rich heritage of this area. I also understand the importance of meeting the challenges faced by a strained economy and the recent actions of the County Commission which deprived Boone of a major revenue stream. We need to protect and enhance our traditional neighborhoods. We need to figure out how to grow responsibly while at the same time protecting our natural resources for future generations. We need to expand and enhance our recreational and public spaces. We need to encourage volunteerism and community activism so that all of us have a voice in the future of Boone.

When I first came to Boone years ago as a college student, I fell in love with the town. The warmth of the people, beauty of the natural surroundings, a vibrant downtown, friendly neighborhoods, arts and culture – all of that made it an ideal place not only to spend my college years but also to eventually call home permanently.

I believe the future of Boone is bright; and I look forward to working with fellow citizens and town council members to protect its past and embrace its future.

I welcome questions about my campaign. Please feel free to reach me at:

Jennifer Pena
623 Forest Hill Drive
Boone, NC 28607

Facebook: Friends of Jennifer Pena

[email protected]  

Rennie Brantz

Today, I a pleased to announce my candidacy for the Boone Town Council. As a member of the Town Council for the past seven and one-half years, I have worked hard to enhance the quality of life in Boone, to strengthen our sense of community, and to plan for the future. I have supported stronger environmental protections, improved community relations, appropriate economic growth, careful management of our limited resources, and preservation of our rich historical and cultural heritage.

In the process I have learned a great deal. I have learned to listen carefully to our entire community, to work hard to become informed, and to make careful, thoughtful decisions that benefit our entire community.

If re-elected, I will use my experience, vision, training, and common sense to advance a number of goals. Environmentally, I want to introduce more energy efficiency in town facilities., add more walking and biking opportunities, and preserve as many green spaces as possible. To strengthen our community, I will support agencies that meet the needs of the underserved, push for stronger town-gown cooperation, encourage more citizens involvement in municipal governance, and facilitate more neighborhood interaction. In the area of economic development, I will support renewed efforts to solve our traffic and parking problems, push for completion of the Howard Street project, back Boone’s water expansion project, and look for new economic development opportunities. To advance the preservation and celebration of our historical and cultural heritage, I will support the work of the Cultural Resources Board and Historic Preservation Commission.

There is so much to do and I am eager to take on the challenges that face our community. Working together, I think we can make Boone a more attractive place to live and work in, and to visit.

Quint David

Today I am announcing my candidacy and filing for seat on the Boone Town Council.

I have watched our community grow and change tremendously since I arrived in 2004. Boone has always been a beautiful place to live and a popular destination to visit for many reasons, and today that is more true than ever. While there are benefits to this popularity there are also stresses and strains associated with the growth and change around it.

Balancing our resource use and planning for the long-term instead of the short is critical to protecting the reasons why we choose to live in this amazing place. Lately I have become increasingly worried that some of our leadership is focused on the short-term dollar instead of the long-term investment in our community and our next generation’s future. I want to ensure that we continue to focus on our local investments and our long-term visions of our community. My priorities will be:

  • Neighborhood Protection:

As our population continues to grow the investments our local homeowners have made must be protected from developments and usage that lower property values.

  • Increasing and Protecting Green Space:

Boone’s green spaces are not just something that serves to better the appearance of our town, but serve to connect and increase the livability and enjoyment of our natural environment.

  • Walk-ability and Bike-ability:

While many of our areas are now accessible by walking or bike, many areas continue to suffer from dangerous traffic congestion or lack of sidewalks in reasonable locations.

  • Small Business:

Our small business owners are the reason we enjoy such a variety of shops and restaurants that can only be found in our town, and the reason many come to visit our area. Ensuring that their needs are met will help ensure a vibrant and varied local market into the future.

  • Long-Term Planning:

Balancing the needs of today with the needs of tomorrow is critical to Boone’s future. We have already experienced what a lack of planning can create, and we must work together to ensure that those mistakes are not repeated.

  • Background:

I am 27 years old. I completed Construction Management and Appropriate Technology degrees from Appalachian State University, specializing in green building certification and solar energy. My beautiful and very supportive girlfriend Sarah aka Holt45, is the vice president of the Appalachian Roller Girls. I currently work for IONCON (It’s Only Natural) Engineering. In recent years I’ve worked on strawbale, earthbag and shipping container homes as well as the design of several renewable energy and rainwater collection systems. I have certified homes for Energy Star, LEED, and the Home Builders Association National Green Building Standard. I believe that education is the key to growing a better tomorrow. I appreciate your support and please feel free to contact me with any questions, comments, or ideas to help our community.

[email protected]

In the foreground, Boone Town Council Member Andy Ball files his candidacy for Boone mayor on Friday. Rennie Brantz, also a current council member, files his candidacy for re-election as well. Photo by Jesse Wood
In the foreground, Boone Town Council Member Andy Ball files his candidacy for Boone mayor on Friday. Rennie Brantz, also a current council member, files his candidacy for re-election as well. Photo by Jesse Wood


Filing 2
Watauga County Board of Elections Director Jane Hodges gives her “sermon” to candidates filing to run for Boone offices in November. From left, Andy Ball, Rennie Brantz, Quint David, and Jennifer Pena. Mayor Loretta Clawson, who is not seeking re-election, looks on. Photo by Jesse Wood


Filing 3
Sue Sweeting is running for town council in Blowing Rock. Photo by Jesse Wood


Filing 4
Quint David was the first person in Watauga County to file for candidacy in the upcoming municipal elections in November. Running for Boone Town Council, David is running on a “smart-growth” platform. Photo by Jesse Wood


Filing 5
Jennifer Pena (left) with her husband Gus and daughter Vivian. Pena is running for Boone Town Council. Photo by Jesse Wood