What’s their past work in the community? Municipal candidates answer

Jake Markland, News Editor

Leading up to the Watauga County 2021 municipal general election Nov. 2, The Appalachian sent each candidate the same questions via email, asking what motivated them to run for their positions and how they plan to tackle other issues. Read about their past work in the community here.

Tim Futrelle (Mayor)

I had the honor to serve as Watauga County Commissioner from 2008-2012. I have also served on the board of directors for local multiple boards and committees.

Todd Carer (BTC) 

I have experience growing businesses and leading a Boone-based regional nonprofit housing agency (Hospitality House of Northwest N.C.) that assists homeless individuals and families. As the director of sales and marketing, I helped to grow two small, independently owned Southern California-based consumer goods manufacturing companies into multi-million-dollar international brands.

I am especially proud to have been a co-founder of the Watauga Back 2 School Festival, still going strong nine years later, providing school supplies, shoes and haircuts to over 1,200 children each year. Additionally, I served on the Advisory Board for N.C. Campus Compact, co-founded the High Country LGBTQ Youth Alliance, was founding vice president and former president of the Watauga NAACP Branch, and was on the executive planning committees for the OUT in the High Country conferences and Stone Soup Nonprofit Leadership conferences. 

Previously, I served as a mentor in the Dale Tweedy Mentoring Program at the Appalachian State Transportation Insight Center for Entrepreneurship and was on the Community Partner Advisory Committee for the Appalachian State Carnegie Foundation Classification. 

Dalton George (BTC)

I’m the founder of the Boone Fair Housing Task Force, an advocacy group working on bringing equity to the housing market. The task force has had some success including the adoption by town council of resolutions tackling predatory housing practices. We also brought state-wide attention to Boone’s housing issues, specifically by the state attorney general. I found that I was not the only one in Boone living with negative conditions which stemmed from a lack of care by certain rental property landlords. The fair housing task force grew to be a part of a broad coalition exploring ways to address the many housing ills of our community. This is a fight I’ll continue far into the future.

 In the time I have been on the town council thus far —less than three months —I’ve proven I am a progressive force that our community needs. I introduced minimum housing code amendments that added language dealing with black mold, weatherproofing and retaliatory evictions. I voted to recharter the town’s sustainability committee, and I serve on it. And I called for the establishment of a human relations committee, which would be tasked with addressing discrimination and inequity in our community.

 Other highlights of my advocacy include: working to save the student union on-campus voting site in both 2018 and 2020 as a member of the voting rights task force. I also knocked thousands of doors for the past four years talking to residents about issues.

 Simply put, some folks talk about change, others cause it. I’ve got the record necessary to show I won’t slack when it comes to putting in the work necessary to make our town better for everyone.

Benjamin Ray (BTC)

Benjamin Ray did not respond to The Appalachian’s questions.

Virginia Roseman (BTC) 

I served on the council during some major issues such as pandemic-related emergencies and the intense budget approval process for the 2021-22 years.  Many decisions were debated and thought through carefully.  Having a council member with knowledge of all of those debates will help the new council understand the hows and whys of what’s on tap for Boone, while still having the ability to hear new sides and visions for future budgets. The years that I have volunteered to the town serving on numerous commissions and boards have been very valuable experiences, and helped prepare me for serving on the council.  They have given me a well-rounded view and understanding of the many entities that report to and support the council. Eric Wooldridge (BTC)

I moved to Boone in 1997 to attend ASU. Graduated in 2001 with a BS in community and regional planning and a Masters of public administration in 2011 (concentration in town and county management). I’m married to my beautiful wife Erica and have two daughters, Taylor and Adalina.

I’ve been working professionally in community development and local government for 20 years. I’m recognized as a certified planner through the American Institute of Certified Planners . For 10 years I served as a local government long-range planner, including three years as the director of tourism planning for the Watauga County and Boone Tourism Development Authorities. Signature projects during that time include creating the Boone Area Outdoor Recreation Master Plan (2011) and the development of Rocky Knob Mountain Bike Park, Upper Gorge Watauga River Access and Pine Run New River Access.

I served on the Boone Planning Commission for 11 years (2006-17, Chair 2012 – 17). I also served on other community boards including Boone Area Cyclists, High Country Pathways, High Country United Way and Southern Appalachian Historical Association. Won the Sue Wilmoth Award for the advancement of tourism for Watauga County (2012) because of the success of Rocky Knob Mountain Bike Park.

I took a leap of faith and quit my job nine years ago to create Destination by Design, a regional planning and economic development firm aimed at helping communities expand quality of life as a mechanism for achieving a more sustainable and resilient economy. I serve as the firm’s president and lead our team of 15 community development, urban design and communications professionals. I’ve worked with more than 150 local governments over the past nine years in the realm of downtown revitalization, land-use planning, sustainability, place-making, destination-quality parks and greenways, and community branding. My life’s work is helping communities to cast and realize their vision; I intend to serve Boone by utilizing my experience to deliver. Learn more at www.eric4boone.com.

Eric Brown (BTC)

I work as Lieutenant Governor for the Carolinas district, and as a past Boone club president, the volunteer efforts led me to keep listening and participating at the local level for the benefit of what I call home.

Christy Cook (BTC)

Christy M. Cook is a full-time faculty member and Appalachian State University alumna. She joined the Boone community and App State in 2002. Cook is a veteran of the United States Air Force where she served honorably as an Air Traffic Control specialist. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in professional aeronautics & administration from Embry-Riddle University and received her Master of Arts degree in educational media with a concentration in online learning and professional development from Appalachian State University in 2018. In addition, she holds a graduate certificate in Instructional Technology Facilitation and a graduate certificate in Marketing.

Christy met her husband of 24 years, David, at Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri. After Whiteman Air Force Base they accepted an assignment in Europe. Additional information about their Air Force careers and military service can be found here. Once both of them transitioned out of the Air Force they moved to David’s hometown of Boone, North Carolina, and Christy has been in love with the High Country ever since. Christy and David have a son, born and raised in Boone, now in his sophomore year at Watauga High School. 

Christy has also worked as a (K-12) educational aid for the Department of Defense Schools in Europe as well as a court appointed special advocate (for children) in the state of Georgia. Christy supports the local North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services and received training in trauma informed parenting for safety and permanence; a model approach to partnerships in parenting candidate to foster/adopt training in 2004 & 2019.

Here are some of my guiding principles and leadership philosophies:

  • “Servant leadership” – I believe a primary goal of leadership should be to serve others. For this principle to work effectively one must focus on the following: listening; empathy; effective communication; insight & foresight; responsible stewardship; as well as positive & proactive influence.  
  • As a veteran I still strive to live and serve in a way that honors three core values; which are, 1) Integrity first, 2) Service before self, and 3) Excellence in all we do. As it relates to the first core value, I believe transparency and establishing positive working relationships across organizational boundaries are essential pillars.

I believe that every voice is important and that we can always accomplish more by working together than we can separately. Everyone should be valued as an individual. While we may not always agree with one another – treating others with dignity, respect and courtesy is critically important to moving forward.

Becca Nenow (BTC)

I started a business called Resupply that is modeled on sustainability and focuses on sourcing locally and selling locally, working to create a closed loop system. Resupply aims to reduce consumer waste, but in starting this business, I’ve realized that in addition to individual action, systemic action is needed to effect the change we need.

Edie Tugman 

Edie Tugman did not respond to The Appalachian in time for publication.