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Candidate Page for Blowing Rock Municipal Elections: Incumbent J.B. LAWRENCE for Mayor of Blowing Rock


Compiled by Jesse Wood

Oct. 17, 2013. High Country Press asked candidates in the Blowing Rock Town Council and mayoral races four questions. As the candidates respond, answers from those running for Blowing Rock Town Council will be posted here and those running for mayor will be posted here

J.B. Lawrence is an incumbent running for mayor of Blowing Rock. His challenger is current Blowing Rock Town Councilman Dan Phillips. 

J.B. Lawrence Bio/Statement

A native of Watauga County, married to the former Lynn Pitts, we have two sons and five grandchildren.  Local banker for 27 years.  Served eight years on the town council prior to becoming Mayor in 1997. Other past and present service to our community: High Country Council of Government Executive and Advisory Boards, Blowing Rock Volunteer Fire Department , Rescue Squad, Hospital board, Chamber board,  Rotary Club, Ruritan Club, BRAHM finance committee, BREMCO board, Watauga County Board of Adjustment Member and First Baptist Church of Blowing Rock. 

  • HCP: Considering Blowing Rock’s lackluster population growth in the past decade, as an elected official, what would you do to attract new residents – both full-time and seasonal – to Blowing Rock in terms of being an attractive place to live, work and play?

J.B. Lawrence: Blowing Rock is already an attractive place to live, work, and play as proven by the numerous awards the Town has recently received.  However, we must continue to enforce the codes and ordinances as they relate to construction, signage, landscaping, etc.   Our town staff is to be commended for their efforts in keep Blowing Rock a special place.   From the street department plowing snow,  cleaning the ditches, and picking up our garbage to the emergency services and police departments answering  911 calls, they all do their jobs with pride and dedication.  There a dozens of volunteers in emergency services, BRACC, garden club, and others who care enough about the town to plant flowers, pick up trash along the roads, and landscape and maintain areas that most towns ignore.   I can only join them in their efforts and praise them for them job they do.

  • HCP: What ideas do you have to address infrastructure needs of Blowing Rock in an aesthetically pleasing manner? 

J.B. Lawrence: The reliability of the infrastructure is more important to me than the appearance, particularly since a large portion of it is unseen. It is important to keep the re-paving the streets as outlined in our long term paving plan and replace and extend sidewalks to encourage more pedestrian access for locals and tourists.   Proper lighting and landscaping along the sidewalks and streets always enhance the Blowing Rock experience.

  • HCP: While maintaining the charm of Blowing Rock, how would you support economic development and tourism in terms of getting new businesses to fill empty storefronts and keep current businesses operating in town? 

J.B. Lawrence: I totally the support the efforts of the Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce and the TDA.  Occupancy tax funds have been used to create infrastructure that would have costs our tax paying citizens hundreds of thousands of dollars.   It’s the responsibility of the new business owner coming to town to do their own due diligence as to whether or not its worth the financial investment and risk.  If they decide that Blowing Rock is where they want to be, I am all for expediting the process to their business open and operating.   It’s not the town’s responsibility to keep a business operating.   The business owner is the one who is choosing what they want to sell, the price, amount of advertising, their operating hours, the quality of the people they employ.  The town is there to provide water, sewer, fire and police protection,  keep the streets and sidewalks open, garbage collection, etc.

  • HCP: Generally speaking, how do you see the Town of Blowing Rock evolving years from now? Do you see this evolution in a positive or negative light for both tourists and/or locals?  

J.B. Lawrence: Past performance is the best indicator of future performance.  As long as we keep our town clean and attractive, maintain our sense of security, have a welcoming attitude, and the year round weather doesn’t change dramatically,  Blowing Rock will always be a special place to live and visit.