Ball running for Boone mayor
by Anna Oakes
Two-term Boone Town Councilman Andy Ball, 30, filed to run for mayor of Boone on Friday, the first day of candidate filing in Watauga County.
The county's municipal elections take place on odd-numbered years, and seats are open town councils in Beech Mountain, Blowing Rock, Boone and Seven Devils. The mayor's seat is open in Boone and Blowing Rock. Candidates may file to run now through noon on July 19.
"My goal in serving is to find new ways to protect the quality of life for all those who live, work and study in Boone," said Ball in a statement. "Toward that end, residents can expect a continued commitment to environmental stewardship, ongoing water conservation measures, infrastructure investment ... and a focus on protecting existing single-family neighborhoods from incompatible development."
He also referenced the town's recent dispute with Watauga County, noting he would engage county commissioners "to explain the importance of a fair sales tax distribution model."
In 2009, Ball became the second ASU student to serve on the Boone Town Council. He studied government and public policy at ASU and has worked in the hospitality industry and as a consultant. Earlier this year he was elected third vice chair of the N.C. Democratic Party.
Current Boone Mayor Loretta Clawson announced in 2012 that she did not intend to seek re-election after her third term as mayor expires this year. During her tenure, the town extended the mayor's term from two years to four years. Prior to her election as mayor, Clawson served eight years on the Boone Town Council.
"I'm excited to hand off the baton," Clawson said at the Watauga County Board of Elections office on Friday.
If Ball is elected mayor, the town council would fill his vacancy on the council, according to state law. Ball would have two years remaining in his council term.
On the Boone Town Council, the seats currently held by Rennie Brantz, Jamie Leigh and Allan Scherlen are up for election, with the top two vote-getters receiving four-year terms and the third-place finisher receiving a two-year term.
Brantz was among those filing on Friday, aiming for a third term on the Boone Town Council.
In a statement, Brantz said if re-elected, he would support greater energy efficiency in town facilities, more walking and biking opportunities, green space preservation, support of local charities, stronger town-gown cooperation, efforts to solve traffic and parking problems, completion of the Howard Street project, Boone's water expansion project, new economic development opportunities and the work to advance Boone's historic and cultural heritage.
Jennifer Pena, a history teacher at Wilkes Community College, was among the newcomers to file for election to the Boone Town Council on Friday. Pena's filing statement emphasized local heritage, thriving local businesses, protection of traditional neighborhoods, balanced growth and protection of natural resources, enhanced recreational spaces and community involvement as priorities.
Also announcing his candidacy for the Boone Town Council was Quint David, who holds construction management and appropriate technology degrees from ASU and works for IONCON engineering firm in Boone. David said his priorities if elected would be neighborhood protection, increasing and protecting green space, walkability and bikeability, small business and long-term planning.
"Lately I have become increasingly worried that some of our leadership is focused on the short-term dollar instead of the long-term investment in our community and our next generation's future," David said in a statement.
Also filing on Friday were three candidates for the Blowing Rock Town Council: incumbent Doug Matheson, newcomer Ray Pickett and newcomer Sue Sweeting, a former Watauga County commissioner.
Check back with Watauga Democrat for more candidate filing updates.