Compiled by Jesse Wood
Oct. 21, 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.
Laurin Carter is running for Blowing Rock Town Council.
Laurin Carter Bio/Candidate Statement
- Born in Hickory on April 2, 1961 in the “Little River” area of Alexander County in the foot hills of The Blue Ridge Mountains.
- Attended Converse College and The School of Richmond Ballet in Richmond, Va. and danced professionally with the Ballet Company.
- Raised with a strong work ethic; at 8 years of age she had her own lawn mowing service and by age 10 worked after school and weekends in the apple orchards near her family’s home.
- Entered the Sheraton Hotel Management Training Program where she learned restaurant management.
- Managed retail furniture store in Hickory; and in 1990 started her own furniture outlet store in Hickory, opening outlets in Asheville, Hudson, Charlotte and Statesville.
- Developed a successful wholesale and salvage business in hotel furniture and furnishings.
- In 1999 she purchased four historic buildings and a parking lot in downtown Statesville comprising a quarter of city block. This started her move out of furniture and into real estate management and investment.
- Laurin is married to Bill Carter and together they have three children.
“I listen and learn. That’s why I have two ears and only one mouth. I want to listen to all the citizens of Blowing Rock and be their voice on the town council.” – Laurin Carter
Vision and Issues:
- Dedicated to maintaining Blowing Rock as the most beautiful and picturesque village in the mountains of Western North Carolina.
- Transparency in government is key to the citizenry’s trust and respect. Make sure everyone in Blowing Rock is fully informed on all aspects of the governing town council.
- Committed to making sure that all tax dollars are wisely spent and the town gets the best value for every dollar of the taxpayer’s money.
Committed to the Blowing Rock Community:
- Blowing Rock Hospital Committee
- Blowing Rock Fashion Show
- Appalachian Regional Healthcare Foundation
- Community Service with Groovy Nights 1 thru 5
- Blowing Rock Village Relations Committee
- William Mast Memorial Fundraiser
- Blowing Rock Christmas Parade participant with her dog “Buddy the Great Pyrenees”
- She is a Lady Shriner and has worked on many projects for the 22 Shriners Children Hospitals Masonic Lodge #363 in Boone fund raisers for Masonic Charities and Oxford Orphanage
- 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?
Laurin Carter: According to Citi-Data.com Blowing Rock’s population grew 10½% from 2000 to 2011 – that’s a decent growth rate. In reality, the economy is still very poor and long term interest rates are starting to climb. Look around town, there is very little new construction and little to no speculative home building. Considering these tough economic times, the town is doing well to take care of its ongoing infrastructure needs and continuing to promote our Village as a beautiful place to visit as well as live. The market will decide when it is time to start building again and until then, the government should stay out of the building business.
- HCP: What ideas do you have to address infrastructure needs of Blowing Rock in an aesthetically pleasing manner?
Laurin Carter: These are two different questions. One is to address infrastructure needs and challenges; the other is how to aesthetically improve the attractiveness of the Town.
There is already a long term plan being implemented to replace our aging town water system, there are issues regarding sewer lines and the need for extensions within the village. Storm drain problems throughout town and along Valley Blvd. are still another matter. As a Town Commissioner, I will seek ways to find the money thru grants and assistance at the State and Federal level to speed the repair and replacement of our crumbling infrastructure.
Now the second part of the question – aesthetics. Valley Blvd. is the first impression people see as they approach our Town and it needs to be enticing and irresistible – a vision of a heavily wooded, stone-walled enclave. Three entrances leading into the Village would be embellished with stone columns and walls, lush landscaping and attractive signage to direct people into downtown. It is a known fact, people buy with their eyes and we want them to say, “WOW…this place is beautiful…let’s see what is through those entrances into Blowing Rock!”
- 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?
Laurin Carter: The town is already doing a lot to attract visitors. We have an outstanding TDA and Chamber of Commerce doing a superb job of promoting Blowing Rock as a resort destination now. Hats off to both! The downtown business district is an economic engine for the Village. We need to attract even more businesses that would complement what we have now. As I answered in question 2, the three entrances into Blowing Rock need to be really dressed up and adorned to attract traffic. The TDA is already advertising Blowing Rock in a major magazine, but maybe we need to do even more with some of the city magazines or others we think can benefit our town. I know that some resort areas are doing internet advertising thru “key words” in search engines. We need to continually reexamine how the promotional dollars are spent and ensure we are getting the “best bang for our bucks.”
- 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?
Laurin Carter: We must protect what we have in Blowing Rock for future generations, no question! That is what will make our town endure and continue to be a special place to live and visit. Large cities in our market area grow and change so quickly, they are unrecognizable from decade to decade. People who live in these cities come to Blowing Rock to get away from the “rat race.” We must ensure Blowing Rock always retains that “warm and fuzzy” feeling, that is why visitors come here. They don’t want to see their favorite place in the world change. These people want familiarity. They want the quaint and charming village of Blowing Rock. In essence, a sense of days gone by. They, and all of us want to be in the little town Norman Rockwell might have painted – Blowing Rock, North Carolina.