Compiled by Jesse Wood
Instead of framing the response and sending all of the candidates a list of questions, High Country Press let the candidates set the tone by asking for a statement on whatever the candidates wanted voters to know.
Here are their responses.
(Early voting for municipalities in Watauga County is underway at the Watauga County Administrative Building on King Street.)
I am very proud to be eight generation in this wonderful area. My ancestors settled in the Cove Creek area in the 1700s.
I have lived in the town of Boone for the past 48 years. I have been very active in this community. I am married with two children, a daughter in law and two very special grandchildren. I have served on many community boards and continue to serve.
I was elected to Boone Town Council in 1997 and served until 2005 when I was elected mayor of the town of Boone. I served in that position until 2013. I decided to take a break at that time. I have now been elected by town council to serve out the vacated position of Council member Jennifer Pena.
My previous work experience include sewing room supervisor at Shadowline Inc., Watauga County Assistant Clerk of Court, restaurant experience and NCDOT (retired).
I enjoyed my previous service on town council and as mayor. I have always worked hard to protect R1 neighborhoods. I am very supportive of our small businesses. The town prides itself on being business friendly. I am very pleased that we continue to be pedestrian friendly. I am very interested in preserving the history of the town. I was pleased to be a part of restoring our historic post office. I am very proud of our wonderful university and it students. I have worked well with the students over the years. A passion of mine has always been to protect our mountains!
I am very concerned about moving forward with the water intake project. I would like to table the project so we can take a look at how this will affect all of us. With the recent taking of Asheville’s water system by the legislators I feel this could happen with our water system. I worry about taking water into unregulated areas. I am concerned that with a housing study that says we are overbuilt with student housing, that we continue to approve all multi-family projects. I am concerned that we have no minimum parking for multi-family projects.
I was very pleased to be presented the “Order of the Long Leaf Pine” in 2013. I was so honored to be recognized with this honor!
Even with the concerns I have, I still believe we live in the best town on the planet! I think we have the best people in the world and I so appreciate the support that has been given to me by the citizens of this town. I am here to be the voice of the people and you can contact me at 828-264-3093 or at the e-mail address [email protected]. Thank you.
Jeannine Underdown Collins
I am Jeannine Underdown Collins, Candidate for Boone Town Council. While I am a registered Democrat, the seats on the council are non-partisan; the only alignment is for what is best for Boone and its citizens.
Having arrived here in the fall of 1975 as a freshman at Appalachian, I feel very lucky to have been able to make Boone my home. Although I have a BS & MA in History, I dove into the family real estate appraisal business and have operated Underdown & Associates, Inc. downtown for 30 years.
We all agree that Boone is located in the most beautiful place on earth, and with its constant growth, we need to focus on maintaining and improving the infrastructure, remain sustainable, find avenues to generate new revenues, lay the ground work for the future and at the same time work toward good relationships with the county, other municipalities, and the employers in the area.
When elected, I will listen, study and evaluate the issues before us and bring to the table the abilities of negotiation, and mediation, while at the same time, agree to disagree. A balance is needed to move forward with current issues; settle the past issues; take the proper steps for Boone’s future.
Public service is a passion of mine; give back to something that gives so much to you is my motto.
I am married to Randy Collins, retired Watauga County School teacher and current Chief of Watauga County Rescue Squad (volunteer based emergency services) and am the cousin to the late Helen Underdown, Register of Deeds for Watauga County. We have one dog, Bella.
I would appreciate your vote for Boone’s future…..Thank you!
I graduated from UNC Chapel Hill with a BA degree in Political Science in 1979 and with a MSW degree in Social Work in 1983. In 1995, I moved to Boone with my husband Andy and our two children; Carolyn and John Paul (JP). Our daughter Carolyn and her husband Richard moved back to Boone in 2009 and reside in Boone with their three sons, Drew age 9, Bennett age 6 and Judson age 1. Our son JP and his wife Elizabeth returned to Boone in 2013 and reside in Boone with their 2 year old son, Arlo.
I have served on the Boone Town Council since December 2001. Prior to being elected to the Boone Town Council, I served on the Boone Area Planning Commission (September 2000 until January 2002) and coordinated the Greenview Mobile Home Park relocation. I worked in the human service field for 31 years. In 2002, I organized WeCAN (Watauga Crisis Assistance Network), a faith based ministry and served as the Executive Director at Hospitality House prior to retiring June 2014. I now am co-owner and manager of a new local family business, Lost Province Brewing Company located in downtown Boone.
It has been an honor and privilege to serve on the Council for the past fourteen years. I have been a leader on the Town Council that has abandoned the status quo and that has been willing to take a stand on the many difficult issues facing our community. I am an active council member that brings vision, commitment and who puts in the time and energy required to get the job done.
When I first ran 14 years ago, I promised to represent our community’s interests. I am proud of my record of accomplishments during my four terms which include:
- Managing growth by adherence to our Comprehensive Plan and other adopted Town Plans
- Completing the Smart Growth Audit in 2007
- Adopting the 2030 Plan in 2009 (The community’s Vision Statement and Framework Plan for future growth and development)
- Updating the UDO with a comprehensive revision in 2014
- Adopting the Urban Forestry Plan in 2010
- Adopting the Steep Slope Ordinance
- Guiding development by using community values
- Revitalizing our (historic) downtown as a vibrant retail and cultural center
- Serving as an advocate for Downtown Boone including the Appalachian Theatre Project
- Advocating for our local businesses
- Protecting neighborhood integrity
- Promoting diverse and affordable housing
- Preserving green space and natural areas
- Ensuring openness in government
- Encouraging citizen participation
- Enhancing alternative transportation including the adoption of the Pedestrian and Bicycle Plan in 2011/2013
- Supporting community sustainability
- Planning for a new water intake to meet the future water needs of Boone
- Cultivating more collaborative relations with ASU, Watauga County and other local governments
- Adhering to sound fiscal and resource management
Though much has been accomplished I remain committed to seeing several projects through to completion including:
- the Water Intake Project
- the Howard Street project
- the Appalachian Theater project
- continued downtown revitalization including parking
- redevelopment of the Daniel Boone Park property home to The Horn in the West, Hickory Ridge Homestead, the Farmer’s Market and the Daniel Boone Native Gardens
- sidewalk, bike lanes and greenway expansion
- green space expansion and protection of our natural resources
- affordable housing initiatives
- ensuring our neighborhoods remain desirable and livable places.
I bring a real passion for our community and a commitment to work on preserving and enhancing the quality of life so unique to this area. I would appreciate your support and I hope you will join me as we continue to build a better Boone for today and generations to come. I welcome questions about my candidacy and can be reached at 265-3212 or [email protected].
I am Charlotte Mizelle, a candidate for Boone Town Council. I have been married to Wayne for 10 years this week. Together we have six children and 11 grandchildren. We attend St. Luke’s Episcopal Church and love living in Boone and enjoying these beautiful mountains of North Carolina. Wayne and I bought a home in the Hunting Hills neighborhood above the Armory and ball parks and live in a sweet spot for viewing the July 4th fireworks.
I am active in the community, working as a Guardian ad Litem, member of the Grants Committee of the Women’s Fund of the Blue Ridge, VP of the Democratic Women and Precinct Chair of New River 3 and Treasurer for the Gardenerettes Garden Club
I graduated from Old Dominion University, the team that App State stomped a few weeks ago, 49-0, in the sideways rain. I am retired from a long career in healthcare management and have the time to devote to the duties of Town Council. I have managed a large staff and budgets exceeding $25 million and many large and small capital projects. I have contracted and built two homes for myself and remodeled two more homes. I come from a family of realtors, builders and contractors and a career military father. My grandparents were all from the hills and mountains of North Carolina and Virginia, so I feel at home in Boone.
I want to work on Town Council to preserve what makes Boone such a good place to live and to improve what needs improving. I understand detailed projects and am willing to dig into the “weeds” to understand why I may vote one way or the other on a project.
When I talk to voters, they relay concerns to me about preserving their R-1 single family home neighborhoods, adding many more trees and attractive streetscape plantings, preventing an asphalt plant from being located in a neighborhood or on our scenic byway and improving downtown parking. These are all things I will be happy to work because I agree with the need.
I believe the students at ASU have an even better college experience when they can live directly on or adjacent to the campus – more time to study and spend time with classmates, less time commuting or trying to find a parking space or paying for one and still have a long walk to class. I hope we can work with ASU to achieve this better plan for our ASU students.
A few voters have talked to me about the water intake project that began nearly 10 years ago. It appears that the current Town Council has voted to proceed with the water intake at the September meeting, after securing all of the permits and financing. As a result, I will not likely be asked to vote on it. Even so, I am studying the project so that I understand the history, finances, current river health/stress, and possible litigation and state rulings. This way I can be prepared to vote on this issue, should it come up. I can report that it is very complicated. We must have a solid infrastructure, including adequate clean water for new businesses or housing to locate in Boone. I would support upgrading, repairing and building whatever we need to be reasonably prepared for managed growth in the next 10-20 or more years. I do like the idea of a second place for us to take in water should we have a failure at our present site. Our 3 million gallon/day permit would not likely be given to us again at our present site with the newer rules about protecting the river, which is one more concern.
I want to work cooperatively with the County Commissioners on projects of mutual concern or benefit. This really must happen to do what is best for all of us who live in the area. I believe I can add to this end through my spirit of cooperation and understanding.
Finally, I know that we have to enhance our ASU campus experience, promote our vital tourism and provide safe and affordable neighborhoods for those who work in Boone.
I would appreciate your vote during the Early Voting period at the Administration Building next to the Courthouse, beginning Thursday, October 22-23 and October 26-31 or at your assigned precinct on Tuesday, November 3.
I have lived in Boone for 13 years. Originally from Wilkes County, I came to Boone for college. I graduated from Appalachian State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology and a Master’s Degree in Community Counseling. I have worked primarily with older adults in Hospice, Deerfield Ridge Assisted Living, and at the Senior Center in Boone. I have served on local nonprofit boards and currently serve on the High Country Caregiver Foundation.
I am running for Boone Town Council because I believe it is important for individuals to be active in their community. I plan to focus on affordable housing for families and older adults and encourage revitalization of older housing units. I will work towards the development of a 55+ housing community. I will continue to support local businesses and will encourage economic development and growth through sustainable practices and policies. I support the upgrades to King Street and Howard Street and will work towards the expansion of sidewalks and bike lanes. I support parking decks downtown and will work on downtown businesses getting back their validation stickers. I believe the parking standards for housing projects should be reviewed and that waivers and no minimum parking standards should be more carefully guarded.
I support working with the County to develop a comprehensive growth strategy including the sale of the old high school property. I will continue to support strong cooperation between the town and ASU. I encourage input and comments from all citizens and I will be available to listen to individual’s concerns. I believe it is a role of the Town Council to promote and support our local small businesses. The Town Council should look to develop sponsored activities and events to draw people to the downtown area such as Asheville’s downtown after 5 and music festivals. I encourage all citizens in Boone to come to the polls and vote this election season.
I am running for Town Council to bridge the gap between the Boone community and the local government.
I want to promote transparency, engage the students and young residents and long time Boone residents. I want to create a working relationship with Boone and Watauga County.
I am an independent candidate, therefore my only obligations will be focused on my constituents, the citizens of Boone. We must build a better Boone, while preserving its small town atmosphere. As a 20-year veteran in the real estate industry, Boone can accomplish reasonable growth measures with my leadership and experience in construction, contracts, and leases.
We must keep taxes and spending at reasonable levels to retain residents and small businesses. I’m running to bring more ideological diversity on the board and the general town government. I want to create sub-committees consisting of local professionals, students, and experts that can help solve Boone’s issues and prevent further issues in the future. I’m going to work hard to create a 55+ living community for Boone, improve infrastructure, increase sustainability measures and prompt Boone to thrive through cooperation.
It’s time for a fair, transparent, and accountable Boone Town Council!
Boone Mayoral Candidates
Candidates for the Boone mayoral race, Rennie Brantz, who is the current mayor pro-tem on the Boone Town Council, and Ryan Hollingsworth, a 23-year-old conservative, didn’t respond to High Country Press’ request.
However, High Country Press did attend the Boone Chamber of Commerce-sponsored candidate forum for the 2015 Boone municipal election. Check out video, audio and photos from the event, which all of the candidates attended last week, here.
See closing statements from the candidate forum and sample ballots below: