By Mark S. Kenna
Aug. 7, 2013. As he gets ready to campaign against incumbent Mayor J.B. Lawrence, small business owner and Blowing Rock Town Council Member Dan Phillips talks about his plans for Blowing Rock.
Phillips, who lives with his family in the village, has been a part of local governments for many years. While serving as a member of Town Council he held a position on the Economic Development Committee for the Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce. Before that Phillips was on the school board in Charlotte. As a member of the “Board of 25,” he helped bring more magnet schools to Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS) and consolidated the busing routes.
At 61, Phillips owns two businesses: Blue Ridge Valet Service and Sew Very Southern Monogramming and has been operating small businesses for over 30 years. All this experience in both business and local government makes Phillips believe that he would make an excellent mayor of Blowing Rock by bringing “fresh ideas” to the table.
“Being in business for 30 years qualifies you for working in local government,” Phillips said. “It takes the same level of common sense and deductive reasoning.”
Phillips campaign slogan “Blowing Rock has Great Views but needs a Clear Vision,” lends itself to his overall agenda. He believes that Blowing Rock needs to protect it’s small town “charm,” and “control its growth.”
One of his main points of focus is keeping the character of downtown Blowing Rock.
“The village of downtown is limited in size to the type of growth it can carry,” Phillips said. “With the increased car count both downtown and the bypass, according to the NCDOT’s 2014 study, it is going to be hard to maintain the character, historical importance and integrity of this village from developers.”
He added that the last thing he wants to happen is for U.S. 321 through Blowing Rock to become the same as Boone or Lenoir: “fast food alley.”
Phillips also wants to focus on infrastructure. The water and sewer lines that run under the roads are thirty years old, Philips said.
But Phillips is not just focused on agenda; he is also focused on complete and total transparency.
“I want to make sure that the local government communication is transparent to the citizens so that we pull everyone together through a common vision that we have developed together,” Phillips said.
Phillips will be running against 16-year incumbent Mayor J.B. Lawrence, a Watauga County native who is also the city president of the United Community Bank in Blowing Rock.