Coupon Codes For Online Shopping
Coupon Codes For Online Shopping

Get Breaking News

Receive special offers from


 1.Why are you running for this office? You may also wish to briefly mention your top issues or goals if elected.

  2. What actions would you support as a town leader to help spur local economic development and job growth?

Originally published: 2013-10-10 17:38:14
Last modified: 2013-10-12 21:49:59

Candidates on the issues: Boone

by Anna Oakes

Election Day for the Boone mayor and three open seats on the town council takes place Tuesday, Nov. 5, and early voting begins Oct. 17.

Watauga Democrat asked each candidate to provide responses to a series of questions for publication. Today's issue includes biographical information about each candidate as well as their responses to the first two of six questions. Responses to the remaining questions will be published in the Oct. 13 and Oct. 16 issues and online at

Responses have been edited for punctuation, spelling and space requirements.

In the coming weeks, Watauga Democrat will publish candidates responses related to the Blowing Rock, Seven Devils and Beech Mountain municipal elections.



Andy Ball


Occupation: Council member


Bio: Councilman Andy Ball has been an advocate for neighborhood protection, environmental conservation and open government in Boone since 2001. He was elected to the Boone Town Council while attending ASU in 2009 and was re-elected with the highest vote total in 2011. Andy has been active with the N.C. League of Municipalities and has served on the Watauga Economic Development Commission, the AppalCART Board of Directors, and six town committees over the past five years.


Party affiliation: Democrat


Contact info: 550 Queen St., Boone; (828) 406-2408; (


1. I am running for mayor to enhance the quality of life for all those who live, work and study in Boone. My progressive vision for the town centers around protecting our single-family neighborhoods from incompatible development, ensuring that we are good stewards of our environment and providing open and responsive government for the citizens of Boone. We face several challenges in the coming years, including ensuring access to water to allow for managed growth, continuing to address the need for workforce housing in our community and revisiting our storm water management in response to the recent severe flooding.


2. I would support incentive packages for larger employers looking to relocate to Boone, with specifics varying based on the number of jobs created. I also support additional incentives in our UDO for both residential and commercial properties to expand or build on. The town currently partners with Watauga County and the Chamber of Commerce on services for local businesses and provides relocation services and information to prospective employers through the Downtown Boone Development Association.


Jenny Church


Occupation: Full-time student (graduating in December) and sales associate at Doncaster Outlet of Blowing Rock


Bio: I was born and raised in Boone. I am 22 years of age and am finishing my last semester at Appalachian State University. I have high regard for faith and consult God in every decision I make. I regularly volunteer to enrich the community in any way I can. I value education, integrity and accountability. Fun fact: I have worn green every Friday since age 15. Viva, Mother Nature!


Party affiliation: Unaffiliated


Contact info (to be published): ( or (828) 406-0016


1. I am not running for this office because I have a strong desire to be mayor. I have an insatiable desire to enrich the Boone community and alleviate the government corruption. Boone is my home, and God has put it on my heart to make a difference. I am involved in every aspect of the community and am able to relate to a wide variety of residents. I am interested in repairing relationships, growing economically and innovating policy ideas.


2. I'd work to encourage the town council to give more consideration to the recommendations and concerns of the Economic Development Committee when making decisions regarding new ordinances and development. I'd like to work with the community and local government(s) to start a Boone Co-op retail store stocked with local goods and produce, like those from the farmers' market. This would enrich the Boone community, as well as the county's agriculture industries.


Brad Harmon


Occupation: Business owner


Bio: Born and raised in Boone and through the years, I have discovered Boone is in a class of its own -- there's no other place I'd rather live. I'm the grandson of Dr. R.H. Harmon, who was a physician here in Watauga County. He was well respected and admired. I have 40 years of business experience under my belt, 12 years as a volunteer fireman and 12 with the Department of Corrections. Through my grandparents and friends I have learned about the history of Boone, which I find fascinating. One of my favorite things to do is share the history of Boone with tourists and students.

Party affiliation: Republican

Contact info: Store phone (828) 264-6505; cell phone (828) 803-2968


1. City council and mayor will be more transparent and accountable. More business friendly and more jobs.


2. Bringing in new businesses and assist them. Change ratings so Boone can and will get more businesses.


John Mena


Occupation: Business owner/hairdresser


Bio: Resident of the High Country since 1988; business owner in Boone since 1989. I purchased a home in town in 1996 and am lucky enough to walk to work. I was born in Brooklyn and am the oldest of four. Raised an Army brat and proud of it. My son, Corey, was born and raised in Boone and is currently attending AB Tech in Asheville, studying sustainable technology. I have a beautiful girlfriend, Kate Lightfoot, and two Alaskan Malamutes, Keno and Shemya.

Party affiliation: Unaffiliated


Contact info: Haircut 101, 174 S. Depot St., Boone; (


1. I'm running for mayor because Boone has enabled me to make this my home, build a business, create jobs, educate co-workers, raise my beautiful son, Corey, and I want to give back to our community. My goal as mayor is to make this same dream easier for anyone wanting to create a business, build a home, raise a family and to create their own piece of heaven.


2. I would first sit down with our county commissioners to find a way that we could again work together on issues instead of against each other. I would like to focus on job creation by attracting more boutique-type software and hardware companies to relocate to our area. ASU is graduating very intelligent, motivated and eager students only to have them leave because of the lack of jobs. Making it easier for locals and out-of-town investors to start businesses will help greatly in creating jobs. There is almost always a win-win situation if the parties involved both exercise a little give and take. We all have an obligation to our community to improve it -- not only for ourselves but for future generations as well. We have to focus on long-term solutions for the issues that affect all of our communities.




Rennie Brantz


Occupation: Professor of history at Appalachian State University


Bio: Rennie Brantz graduated from Doane College in Nebraska, earned a Ph.D in history at The Ohio State University in 1973, and has taught German history at Appalachian State University since 1973. He directed ASU's Freshman Seminar program from 1990 to 2004 and co-directed the University's Center for Judaic, Holocaust and Peace Studies from 2002 to 2013. He has served two four-year terms on the Boone Town Council and also represents the council on a number of town committees.


Party affiliation: Democrat


1. I am running for re-election to the Boone Town Council to improve the quality of life in Boone by strengthening our neighborhoods, encouraging environmentally friendly economic growth and preserving and celebrating our cultural and historical heritage. If elected, I will use my experience, knowledge and common sense pragmatism to advance these commitments as well as to develop an even more vibrant downtown, including the completion of the Howard Street project; updating our town infrastructure and water system; and making Boone friendlier for walkers and bicycle riders. In every issue that comes before the town council, I will listen to and try to reflect the will of all Boone's citizens.


2. Appalachian State University and tourism are two of the most important economic engines in our community. To capitalize on our attractive location and the jobs and revenue tourism generates, I would support continued development of our unique downtown, expanded community entertainment opportunities and improved visitor services. To take advantage of Appalachian State University's presence as an incubator for new ideas and businesses, I would offer incentives to new, environmentally friendly businesses launched through partnerships between ASU and local entrepreneurs. To make Boone more attractive to new businesses, I would encourage the town to update its aging infrastructure, including its storm water and potable water systems; to push for more rapid expansion of natural gas delivery; and to streamline its regulatory approval system for new construction.   


Quint David


Occupation: Green building and energy specialist at IONCON Engineering


Party affiliation: Unaffiliated


Bio: Quint has been a Boone resident since 2004, focusing both his personal and professional life on issues of sustainability. With degrees in both appropriate technology and construction management from ASU, he currently works at IONCON Engineering, a local engineering firm specializing in sustainable construction and renewable energy. Quint is a past president of the ASU Solar Club, a founding member of the Boone Bike Initiative and 350 Boone and current organizer of Green Drinks Boone.


Contact info: (828) 719-8131; (


1. I was asked to run by Loretta (Clawson) and Andy (Ball) due to my background in sustainability issues and building code/UDO requirements. Specifically, since I have worked for both ASU and the county, I hope to heal some of the infighting that is wasting our taxes and preventing us all from moving forward with our long-term community sustainability goals.


2. Boone continues to suffer from rampant growth. If we want to continue this rapid growth we must focus not only on quantity but also on the quality of jobs we are attracting to our areas limited resources. Measures to support small businesses and local start-ups are critical to maintaining the backbone of our areas employment opportunities.


Matthew C. Long


Occupation: N.C. licensed general contractor, partner with Capehart & Washburn, LLC- General Contractors


Bio: Matthew Capehart Long is a Boone native and graduate of Watauga High School. He graduated from ASU in 2000 with a Bachelor of Science degree in construction technology. Matthew, his wife, Sarah, and their two children live in downtown Boone. Matthew is a partner in a local construction business, Capehart & Washburn. Matthew served on the High Country Home Builders Association board and as president in 2012. Matthew currently serves on the Boone Planning Commission.


Party affiliation: Republican


Contact info: 435 Grand Blvd, Boone; (828) 773-1400; (


1. I truly believe that I can be an asset to the town council with my communication skills, my ability to work though challenging situations, my professional experience in owning and operating a business, my construction and development experience, as well as my experience and passion for sustainable development. I have a very high level of respect for our town's citizens, and my desire is to see a local government that truly acts in the best interests of the citizens of Boone.


2. I would look forward to finalizing the revamped UDO, which is currently being re-structured and is totally necessary -- a platform item of mine four years ago when I ran for council. I would like to see that effort completed thoroughly and not rushed to be adopted prior to the Nov. 5 elections. We need an adopted UDO that makes sense for new and existing business owners, new and existing homeowners, smart development, affordable housing and our code enforcement officials. Changes can encourage smart development and real affordable housing that can bring new businesses and jobs.


James Milner


Occupation: Commercial real estate broker; president and owner, Milner Research Services, LLC


Bio: After graduating from Appalachian State University in 2004, I opened my own business and married my wife Catharine, and we have been blessed with our first son, Peter, in December 2012. I have been actively involved in the community since graduating from ASU. I have served on the Board of Directors of the Western Youth Network, assisted in starting Young Professionals of Boone and I am an advisor for the local chapter of Alpha Sigma Phi Fraternity. 


Party affiliation: Unaffiliated


Contact info: ( ; (828) 355-9074


1. I decided to run because it was time to take my knowledge, leadership and expertise and apply that to local government. I am raising a family here in the town of Boone and as such I want what any parent wants for their child, which is an environment to which they can excel and succeed. I decided to run because I was tired of the negativity surrounding politics in the town of Boone. I decided to run because I believe that partisan politics are harming our government. I am running because I want to work with like-minded people to take the town of Boone to the next level. My campaign is based on smart development, economy and relationships.   


2. Economic development has been at a standstill for a long time. While the area will never have the economic impact of another Appalachian State University, it is necessary that we find businesses that are willing to invest inside the town of Boone. I want to see the town of Boone go out and recruit employers that fit within the character of Boone. The quality of life in the town of Boone is too high to not work with companies to get them to establish a presence here in the town. 


Jennifer Pena


Occupation: faculty chair/history instructor at Wilkes Community College


Bio: From Greensboro, attended ASU, graduated with a degree in history, earned a MA degree from UNCW. Currently working on an Ed.D from NCSU in adult and community college education. Wife of Gus Pena, mother of 4-year-old Vivian. I have worked for nonprofits in the past and have experience with budgets. I have a passion for history, culture and the arts.


Party affiliation: Democrat


Contact info: ( ; (828) 263-5359


1. I have continued to be dismayed by the actions of our current governor and state legislature, and more recently, by the majority of the Watauga Board of Elections and county commissioners. Rather than continue to simply discuss these problems, I felt it was time to take action as a public servant. Leaders should listen to those they represent and use common sense rather than their personal, narrow interests to guide their decisions.


2. As a member of the town council, I will be eager to hear from any groups interested in bringing companies and businesses to Boone. I am a great fan of local businesses; they are part of what make our town unique. Encouraging business development while keeping an eye on maintaining our town's culture and natural beauty is challenging, but can be achieved with careful planning. Revisiting the UDO as needed is a way to make sure it is working for businesses and citizens.


Mark Templeton


Occupation: Property management


Bio: Mark was born and raised right here in Boone. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn., before coming home to work in the family business. Mark is a member of Greenway Baptist Church, coaches pee-wee basketball and enjoys playing the mandolin and guitar with his family. Mark and his wife Jade have two twin sons Philip and Amos, a little girl on the way and Max the dog.


Party affiliation: Republican


Contact info: (828) 773-5998;


1. The vision I share with the people of Boone is that of encouragement, fairness, promotion and good stewardship. We should encourage re-development to improve vacant and run down properties. Advocate for jobs to bring the private sector back to town. Ensure accountability and transparency to the people, those who live, work and do business here. Communicate with the Appalachian community, the county and other municipalities.


2. Through streamlining the development ordinance and eliminating punitive, unnecessary regulations that serve as a barrier of entry for many entrepreneurs. Government does not create jobs; people do.

Additional Images