Watauga Democratic candidates meet students, discuss issues over coffee

Junior geography major Zachary Parsonage speaks to Watauga Board of Education candidates Barbara Kinsey and Brenda Reese at Coffee With the Candidates held in Whitewater Cafe. Justin Perry | The Appalachian

Michael Bragg

Junior geography major Zachary Parsonage speaks to Watauga Board of Education candidates Barbara Kinsey and Brenda Reese at Coffee With the Candidates held in Whitewater Cafe. Justin Perry | The Appalachian Whitewater Cafe was abuzz Monday afternoon with students talking to Democratic candidates from the area about the upcoming election.

“Coffee with the Candidates” was hosted by the Watauga Democratic Party to encourage students to get to know Democratic candidates personally.

“We are everyday people, and sitting down with a cup of coffee is real,” said Watauga County Commission candidate Virginia Roseman.

The event took place in a more low-key, coffee shop-like environment. The informality of the event strayed away from the typical “meet and greet” a lot of candidates participate in.

“I think debates and forums are definitely important, but meet and greets are really great because you get to know the candidates more personally,” said Jocelyn Hunt, a sophomore political science major and member of the College Democrats.

Roseman said she thought the laid back environment helped to represent the Democratic party as a whole.

For some students, the event was a chance to reaffirm their previous endorsements and political beliefs.

“I always wanted to vote for these candidates but after talking with them I saw that they really cared about me as a person so it definitely made me want to vote for them more,” said Liz Bennett, a sophomore sociology major and member of the College Democrats.

A couple of students and candidates agreed that education is one issue students should focus on the most in this upcoming election.

“I think that education is the future of our nation,” said Brenda Reese, candidate for Watauga County Board of Education. “It impacts our workforce and everything that we are doing.”

Bennett agreed that education is a key platform issue in this election.

“Especially in this election, education is really important for students to get affordable tuition,” Bennett said.

The deadline for voter registration is Friday.

Story: KALEY CAMPBELL, A&E Reporter

Photo: JUSTIN PERRY, Photographer