Ray Russell, founder and owner of RaysWeather.Com, will announce his candidacy for the 93 North Carolina House Seat with a rally at Lost Province in Downtown Boone on Tuesday, Oct. 10 at 7 p.m.
Regarding his candidacy, Ray said, “The heart of North Carolina is ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ In the coming campaign and then in the North Carolina House of Representatives, I’ll live out that principle by demonstrating RESPECT for people, LISTENing to your voices, and LEADing this region with skill and innovation.”
Town Councilwoman, and former Mayor of Boone, Loretta Clawson, introduced Ray to the packed restaurant:
“Ray Russell has been serving this region through RaysWeather.Com and as an educator for over a quarter century. We know him as ‘Ray the Weatherman’, but he is a skilled communicator, scientist, educator, entrepreneur, and minister. He has proven that he cares deeply about Northwest North Carolina, is fit to lead, and ready to become our next State Representative.”
Ray closed his announcement saying, “Government in Raleigh is broken at its core. We need a government worthy of this great state. I am Ray Russell and excited to announce my candidacy for the 93rd North Carolina House of Representatives.”
Ray is a college professor and business entrepreneur. Ray has been a computer science professor at Appalachian State University for 26 years. Ray’s weather hobby became RaysWeather.Com in 2000. RaysWeather.Com was named Business of the Year in 2016 by the Boone Chamber of Commerce. The company operates a family of weather websites including AsheWeather.Com and BooneWeather.Com covering weather across most of the Southern Appalachians and North Carolina Foothills. These weather websites are among the most read media outlets in the region serving about 6 million pages per month to about 300,000 readers.
Ray and Rhonda Russell have been married for 39 years. Rhonda taught kindergarten and Pre-K for 20 years, mostly in Watauga and Avery Counties. She is now a Senior Lecturer of Family and Child Studies at Appalachian State University and an advocate for children. Rhonda and Ray have two daughters, Leah and Laura, and three grandchildren.
The 93rd NC House District includes Ashe and Watauga Counties. Rep. Jonathan Jordan was most recently elected to the seat. Mr. Robert Block is challenging Rep. Jordan in the Republican Primary. At this point, Ray is the only Democrat who has announced candidacy for the seat. The General Election will be Nov. 8, 2018. Learn more about Ray’s campaign for the 93rd North Carolina House District at RayForNC.Com
Most people in the 93rd North Carolina House District “know” Ray as the founder and president of RaysWeather.Com which began in 2000 and is now the most widely read media of any type in Northwest North Carolina. RaysWeather.Com provides custom weather services for the Southern Appalachians and Foothills from Hendersonville and Balsam Mountains of North Carolina to the north end of the Blue Ridge Parkway in Waynesboro, VA, reaching about 300,000 readers every month. RaysWeather.Com was awarded “Business of the Year” in 2016 from the Boone Chamber of Commerce. But most importantly, RaysWeather.Com is the modern-day “General Store” where mountain neighbors gather virtually each day for a common experience of humor, wit, photos, and accurate weather information.
Ray and Rhonda Doss Russell have been married for 39 years. They live in Boone and have two adult children, Leah (Berry) and Laura (Kennedy). Leah is a clinical psychologist in Raleigh and Laura is a pharmacist in Bethesda, MD. Ray and Rhonda’s sons-in-law are Denny Berry (working for Wells Fargo in Raleigh) and Jeff Kennedy. Jeff is a data and informatics project manager for CareFirst (BlueCross/BlueShield) in Baltimore, MD. However, he was recently activated for the Army Reserve–Major Kennedy is currently serving as Chief of Military Operations for Corps of Engineers in Puerto Rico. Ray’s favorite role is being “Ray Ray” to his three adorable grandchildren.
Rhonda Russell has been an early childhood educator in both Avery and Watauga Counties for 20 years. She is currently a Senior Lecturer at Appalachian State University in the Department of Family and Child Studies. Rhonda is an active advocate for children having served on numerous boards and committees related to child development in the High Country.
Ray has been a computer science professor at Appalachian State University for the past 26 years. Prior to joining the Appalachian faculty, Ray served as a minister for churches in Tennessee, Mississippi, Georgia and North Carolina and as a faculty member at Freed-Hardman University and Virginia Commonwealth University. Ray’s academic background includes a Bachelor’s Degree in Bible from Freed-Hardeman University, Master’s Degrees in both Mathematics and Computer Science, and a PhD in Computer Science with a minor in Psychology from Georgia Tech.
In addition to his business and educational achievements, Ray has been involved in many other activities: running the entire length (469 miles) of the Blue Ridge Parkway, becoming a Certified Running Coach, and even working for two years with NASA in commercial cockpit design.
Ray also has served his community as a volunteer in significant roles. For three years, he was Campaign Chair for the High Country United Way. He served on the Middle Fork Greenway Board Task Force and the Blue Ridge Parkway Association Board. Ray has given hundreds of talks on a wide variety of topics for schools, civic groups and community events.
Ray was born and grew up in Manchester, TN. His father is a retired high school teacher and principal. Ray’s mother retired from the Economic Development Commission for Coffee County, TN. Both remain active and have lived in Manchester for over fifty years.