App State senior announces candidacy for Boone Town Council

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Kara Haselton

Dalton George, senior economics major, also works for the Watauga County Democractic Party as canvassing director. “My favorite part of organizing has been being able to talk to people on doorsteps,” George said. “A lot of people are very normal and less polarized than the media shows.”

Ethan Hunt, Associate News Editor

A student who has tackled voting rights in Watauga County and housing in Boone’s community announced his newest project on April 10: an election run for Boone Town Council. 

Dalton George, an App State senior, was nominated to a vacant town council seat in February. The council appointed Virginia Roseman instead, but George said he was not deterred and hopes to win the general election in November.

 “The reason I am running is because I want to work on policy and I want to continue these initiatives I’ve started,” George said.

George did not release any official campaign policies when he announced his candidacy at the Watauga County Democrats Watauga Convention. However, he has said his platform will center around housing, environmentalism and voting rights.  

George is the founder of the Boone Fair Housing Task Force, a member of the Boone County Board of Adjustment and an independent contractor for the Watauga County Democratic Party. He is also the former president of App State College Democrats. 

George has worked with the town council to pass numerous resolutions, including the unfair housing resolution and the anti-homeless architecture resolution

Sam Furgiuele, current town council member, has worked with George on several resolutions in the past and said he is not lacking in experience. Furgiuele said people often see a town council position as a “prize” instead of a tool to make change.

 “Mr. George, in contrast, identifies issues himself and seeks to address them for the benefit of the public, not for personal attention or out of an outsized self view,” Furgiuele said in an email.

George, an economics major, became politically active his freshman year at the university when he started working with the Watauga County Democratic Party as canvassing director. 

His sophomore year he lobbied the App State administration and the Boone Town Council for improved voting opportunity for students and community members. That same year, he worked on his first political campaign in support of the Democrats running in the Boone municipal elections. 

“I like to say that I ended up at App by fate, that I was kind of meant to be here and meant to work on the things that I worked on,” George said. 

He is the youngest person in Boone’s history to be appointed to the board of adjustment. Currently, he is working with the planning commission to codify his anti-homeless architecture resolution. 

“I think there is an unreal amount of power that local government has in terms of really helping people,” George said. 

George said he sees local government as the best way to have a tangible, positive impact on people. He said the reason he is running isn’t about him, but rather the community he wants to help. 

“Local government I guess to some people isn’t as exciting, things like zoning laws, you know the really nitty gritty, the details that’s where you can really help people,” George said. “If I get elected I’m going to put my head down and just work really hard on policy that I feel like brings more equity to the community and brings us forward.” 

George is from Midway, a town with a population of 4,983 people, where he attended North Davidson High School. His father is a furniture manufacturer who raised George by himself. 

“I grew up lower class to a dad who ended up getting laid off because of the recession,” George said. “I didn’t own a suit until I was 21 years old. I think a lot of people in the political scene aren’t really like that.”

Adam Zebzda, junior political science major, has worked with George on several initiatives including the Plemmons Student Union voting site for the 2020 election and the Watauga County Voting Rights Task Force. 

Zebzda said more student representation in town affairs is important to ensuring student voices and opinions are present in town decision making. 

“He has the leadership, experience, passion, and empathy needed for public service and has always asked selflessly to better the lives of people in our community,” Zebzda said. “Dalton is Boone’s happy warrior and I can’t wait to call him my town council member.” 

George knocked on over 20,000 doors as a canvassing director for WCDP, saying the experience helped connect him to the issues of the Boone community outside of App State. 

 “I definitely will advocate for students but I think I’m more in tune with community issues that have a lot of history here than maybe most young folks,” George said. 

George said he does not see his age as something voters should consider in November. 

“It’s always wait your turn, you’re running too soon … But I see myself as an experienced candidate,” George said. 

Boone municipal elections will take place Nov. 2. As of April 15, no other candidates have announced they are running for town council. Candidates have until July 16 to file a notice of candidacy.  

“Putting yourself out there and having an entire community evaluate you, that’s intimidating, right?” George said. “I think there’s a level of running for office where you are kind of saying, ‘Hey I think I’m one of the best people for the job’ but I do believe that.”