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Blowing Rock Civic Association To Sponsor Candidate Round Table Discussion Oct. 12

They may not see eye-to-eye on all the issues, but Blowing Rock’s candidates for the open Town Council seats (three for Town Council and one for Mayor) will get a chance to go nose-to-nose with their positions and insights on the Town’s governance.  

“Issues & Insights: Blowing Rock Candidates Roundtable” will be jointly presented by Blowing Rock Civic Association and Blowing Rock News on Thursday, Oct. 12, 5:30 p.m., at the American Legion Building, 333 Wallingford St., Blowing Rock. Admission is free.

All candidates have committed to participate, the format is set, and some important issues have been defined.

There are four candidates for three open Commissioner seats this year, including incumbents Sue Sweeting, Doug Matheson and Ray Pickett, as well as challenger Virginia Powell.  For Mayor, incumbent J.B. Lawrence is looking to retain his seat on Town Council vs. challenger Charlie Sellers.

“This year’s Candidates Roundtable should be particularly interesting,” steering committee chairman Bob Burroughs, retired North Carolina Superior Court Judge said. “Our format should result in about an hour of stimulating discussion between the men and women vying for positions among Blowing Rock’s most important elected officials.  We’ve designed it to be bias-free and fully transparent.

“All of the candidates, whether for Mayor or Commissioner will be in the same discussion forum,” Burroughs continued. “Through a double-blind draw, they will not only select the order, but also a very topical question.  None of the candidates will have seen the questions in advance.”

Event co-chair Karyn Herterich, owner of Southmarke shopping center and the Serves You Right retail store on Main Street added, “Our goal is to stimulate dialogue between the candidates and to help voters decide which of the candidates seeking to serve in public office are the best prepared for the job. There are no ‘wrong’ answers to the questions, per se, but there are bound to be viewpoints that differ among the candidates as well as vs. the values and opinions of individual audience members. It is a great service to voters to understand where their current and prospective elected officials stand on the issues that matter to them.”

The third steering committee member, David Rogers, Editor of Blowing Rock News observed, “Candidate forums, roundtables, and debates are a hallmark of the representative form of government we are privileged to share on all levels of government in America.  Our questions for the candidates will be pointed, addressing various hot topics impacting the Town today and in the future. Some of them will ask for the candidates’ thoughts on controversial issues and all of them will require qualitative answers.

 “Each candidate will have up to three minutes to respond to the question they have randomly drawn,” Rogers explained, “then each of the other five candidates will have up to two minutes to add a different viewpoint or expand on what they feel is an incomplete answer. Candidates are not required to answer every question, but we want to encourage some ‘back and forth’ dialogue between the candidates.”

Audience members will be able to submit additional questions when they arrive.  All questions will be screened by members of the organizing committee for duplication.