2014 DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY ELECTION
for WATAUGA COUNTY, NC
MAY
6TH


SHORTCUT: Click here to see how I will cast my Democratic Primary ballot. Click here for a printable PDF "Pam's Picks" marked sample Democratic ballot for the May 6th primary elections (PDF file). If you like, you can take it with you into your polling place.

SPECIAL NOTE TO REPUBLICAN, UNAFFILIATED, AND LIBERTARIAN VOTERS: There are four ballots for the upcoming May primaries: a Democratic ballot, a Republican ballot, a Libertarian Ballot, and an Unaffiliated ballot. Each of these ballots is different and can be viewed here (scroll down). Unaffiliated voters may choose a Democratic, Republican, or Unaffiliated ballot for the primary election.  The primary races for NC Supreme Court and the Watauga County School Board (discussed below) appear on ALL FOUR Watauga County primary ballots.

Click here to read "My Take on This Year's Election."

VERY IMPORTANT CHANGES TO VOTING THIS YEAR

The North Carolina General Assembly and the Watauga County Board of Elections have made significant changes to voting locations and opportunities, effective this year. These changes are designed to suppress voting options for progressive voters in hopes you will be too discouraged to cast a ballot.

Progressives cannot afford to become discouraged.  The future of our public schools, our air and water quality, and our constitutional rights and quality of life are at stake. We must fight back - hard - against local and state voter discrimination efforts.

For this reason, I strongly encourage you to do one of the following (in order of preference):

(OPTION #1): To send a REALLY strong message, REQUEST THAT AN ABSENTEE BALLOT BE MAILED TO YOUR HOME:

Go here: print out and fill out the Absentee Ballot Request form, sign it, and mail it to:

Watauga County Board of Elections • PO Box 528 • Boone, NC 28607

OR print out and fill out the Absentee Ballot Request form, sign it, scan it, and email it to janeann.hodges@watgov.org

NOTE: Once you receive your absentee ballot, you will need two witnesses (or one notary) to sign it before you return it to the Board of Elections. Your witnesses do not have to be registered voters. Witnesses must be at least 18 years of age and can be family members. Witnesses do not have to be residents of Watauga County. Candidates for the election CANNOT be witnesses to your Ballot.  It will cost you 98 cents (two "forever" stamps) to return your ballot.

(OPTION #2): To Send a STRONG message, VOTE BEFORE ELECTION DAY AT THE ADMINISTRATION BUILDING (beside the courthouse) ON KING STREET :

There is no early voting available at ASU.  Please vote the first day of Early Voting downtown Boone if at all possible: Thursday, April 24

We do not recommend casting a ballot at any of the other satellite early voting locations.

EARLY VOTING HOURS AT THE COURTHOUSE:

Thursday, April 24 through Friday, April 25: 8AM-5PM
Monday, April 28 through Friday, May 2: 11AM-7PM
Saturday, May 3: 8AM-1PM

(OPTION #3): To Send any MESSAGE at all, VOTE ON ELECTION DAY AT YOUR REGULAR POLLING LOCATION :

This is not a good option for some Watauga County voters. Transfer and provisional voting are no longer allowed "out of precinct." This means in order to cast a ballot on election day, you MUST vote at your assigned precinct. ASU students, faculty and staff can no longer cast a ballot provisionally on campus. Boone 2 precinct voters (students living in dorms on the east side of campus) must vote at Legends on Election Day.  Boone 3 precinct voters (students living in dorms on the west side of campus) must vote at the Agricultural Conference Center If you have moved from one precinct to another and have not notified the Board of Elections prior to Election Day, you can still vote on Election Day in one of two ways: (1) go to the Board of Elections on King Street and vote "transfer" or (2) go to your new precinct and vote transfer.  If you do not know the location of your new precinct, call the Watauga COunty Board of Elections at 828.265.8061.

ELECTION DAY POLLING LOCATION CHANGES

New River 3 Precinct Voters: Your polling location has permanently changed.  On Election Day, you vote at Mutton Crossing on Bamboo Road.

Boone 3 Precinct Voters: Your polling location has permanently changed.  On Election Day you vote at the Agricultural Conference Center on Poplar Grove Road. NOTE:  Boone 3 precinct voters should vote before Election Day at the Administration Building in Downtown Boone. You cannot vote by provisional ballot at Legends on Election Day.

Boone 2 Precinct Voters: Your polling location has permanently changedOn Election Day you vote at the ASU Legends Building.

Meat Camp Precinct Voters:   Your polling location has permanently changed. On Election Day you vote at the Meat Camp Fire Department.

THE MAY 6 PRIMARY BALLOT (how I will cast my ballot):

Click here for a printable PDF "Pam's Picks" marked sample Democratic primary ballot (1 page PDF file). If you like, you can take it with you into your polling place.

US SENATE (you may pick one):
Kay Hagan

US HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, DISTRICT 5 (you may pick one):
Joshua (Josh) Brannon

NC SUPREME COURT ASSOCIATE JUSTICE (you may pick one):
Robin Hudson

COUNTY BOARD OF EDUCATION (you may pick three):
Kurt Michael
Ronald (Ronny) Holste
Jay Fenwick

The Disclaimer: What is Pam's Picks?
“Pam’s Picks” is simply one person’s opinion about the 2014 Democratic Primary election races.  I am a progressive Watauga County resident and have long held interest in local politics. I have researched candidate campaign platforms and records where available. I have also supplied candidate web site references and Facebook links where available. For additional information, you can follow the provided links or contact candidates directly with your questions.

What's in Pam's Picks?
Below you will find:  general voting information (when and where) and information on candidates whose names will appear on the May 6th Democratic Primary Election ballot (the candidates are presented in the order they will appear on your ballot). 

SHORTCUTS to The Information On This Site:
Click here for the Pam's Picks disclaimer.
Click here for IMPORTANT INFORMATION about voting changes for this year's election.
Click here for recommendations on how to best cast your ballot this year.

Click here for recommendations on Voting Information (who can vote this ballot and early voting locations and hours).
Click here for your Election Day polling location.
Click here for "My Take On This Year's Election."
Click here for a full discussion of my endorsement for US Senate.
Click here for a full discussion of my endorsement for US House of Representatives, District 5.

Click here for a full discussion of my endorsement for NC Supreme Court Associate Justice.
Click here for a full discussion of my endorsement for Watauga County Board of Education.

VOTING INFORMATION
Who Can Vote this ballot?: All registered Democrats and Unaffiliated voters who reside in Watauga County. This includes ASU students who live in dormitories on campus as well as those who live in off-campus housing.

When and Where to Vote: Election Day proper is Tuesday, May 6th, BUT YOU SHOULDN'T WAIT UNTIL THEN TO VOTE!   We are recommending that progressive voters cast ballots at the Watauga County Administration Building.

The Watauga County Administration Building (beside the Courthouse on King Street)
Thursday, April 24 through Friday, April 25: 8AM-5PM
Monday, April 28 through Friday, May 2: 11AM-7PM
Saturday, May 3: 8AM-1PM

Western Watauga Community Center:
Monday, April 28 through Friday, May 2: 11AM-7PM
Saturday, May 3: 8AM-1PM

Blowing Rock Town Hall:
Monday, April 28 through Friday, May 2: 11AM-7PM
Saturday, May 3: 8AM-1PM

Deep Gap Fire Department:
Monday, April 28 through Friday, May 2: 11AM-7PM
Saturday, May 3: 8AM-1PM

Meat Camp Fire Department
Monday, April 28 through Friday, May 2: 11AM-7PM
Saturday, May 3: 8AM-1PM


Not Registered to Vote?: The last day for registering to vote for the May 6th primaries is Friday, April 11th at 5PM. You can no longer “Same Day Register and Vote.” YOU CAN NO LONGER SAME-DAY REGISTER AND VOTE.

If you vote on Election Day, where do you vote?”:
Bald Mountain: Todd Fire Department
Beaver Dam:
Beaver Dam Fire Department
Beech Mountain:
Buckeye Recreational Center
Blowing Rock:
Blowing Rock Town Hall
Blue Ridge:
Laurel Fork Baptist Church
Boone 1: 
Watauga County Administration Building, beside the Courthouse
Boone 2: 
ASU Legends
Boone 3: 
Agricultural Conference Center on Poplar Grove Road
Brushy Fork: Oak Grove Baptist Church
Cove Creek: Western Watauga Community Center
Elk:
Stewart Simmons Fire Department
Laurel Creek:
Cove Creek Fire Department
Meat Camp:
Meat Camp Fire Department
New River 1:
  Boone Town Hall on Blowing Rock Road
New River 2: 
Three Forks Baptist Association
New River 3: 
Mutton Crossing on Bamboo Road
North Fork: Edgar Eller's Garage
Shawneehaw: Matney Community Center
Stony Fork: Deep Gap Fire Department
Watauga: Foscoe Fire Department

Polls are open on Election Day, May 6th, from 6:30AM-7:30PM.

Need More Information?: Call the Watauga County Board of Elections at 265-8061.

CANDIDATE INFORMATION SOURCES:
Information for my candidate discussions below comes from individual candidate information, candidate voting records, press reports, non-partisan and partisan analysis, Project Vote Smart, and other sources. Candidates are listed and discussed in ballot order. Click on individual names for detailed information about teh candidates or click here for shortcuts to all candidate information/discussions on this site.

MY TAKE ON THIS ELECTION YEAR:
Primary elections are very important. This is our chance to pick candidates we feel represent our best prospects for carrying a progressive banner into battle against right-wing candidates who seek to destroy public education, sacrifice our water and air quality to the highest bidder, and who seek to destroy our democracy through the likes of Citizens United and, more recently, McCutcheon v. FEC.

Our government is for sale, and (let's face it) we'll never have the unlimited funds the right-wing has to buy the biggest banner. What we do have is the people on our side. Poll after poll shows that Americans support a progressive agenda, want big money out of politics, want to protect their air and water quality, support public schools, and oppose the income inequality currently devastating our country's future.

What we have is the votes.  But only if we can protect ourselves against an outright, well-financed, and aggressive strategy to take our votes away.

The Watauga County Board of Elections, the State legislature, and the State Board of Elections has been working overtime to discriminate against progressive voters and actively suppress our voting opportunities. They have reduced the number of weeks available for early voting. They have shut down all voting in the ASU Student Union. They have ruled that your provisional vote will no longer count if you can't get to your regular voting site, and have eliminated same-day voter registration. They have allowed for only one early voting site for more than 60% of all Watauga County voters while simultaneously setting up four new early voting sites in parts of the county where there are few voters but in areas where most voters are heavily Republican. On a national level, the Supreme Court has gutted the Voting Rights Act. And even if all else fails in discouraging us from casting our ballots, they have passed a vigilante provision allowing us to be challenged by any registered voter of Watauga County right there inside the polling location.

The May 6th Democratic primary elections are always about our choice of candidates, but this year they are more about how and if we will fight back against voter suppression.  Because our constitutional right to vote, and our insistence that we will exercise that right in the face of daunting assault, is all we have left.

It's not good enough for you to simply find your personal way to the polls this year. It's your duty to drag along friends and family.

It's important to send a message that we will not have our voices silenced, that we have the numbers to fight back, that we will not have our early and Election Day polling location choices reduced, and that we're in this for the long game. That's why it's important to (1) either request that an absentee ballot be mailed to your home, or (2) vote the first day of early voting at the Administrative Building (beside the courthouse), the only early voting location situated for progressive voters.  If you can't do either, (3) be sure to vote on Election Day at your regular polling location.

US SENATE: (you may vote for one)

Will Stewart: https://www.willcstewart.com

Stewart comes from a military family, grew up in a single-parent home, and owns a computer repair business. You should read Stewart's website. It's good. He opposes the Patriot Act, supports marijuana reform (and wants to push it as an agricultural product in North Carolina), supports higher teacher pay, believes in better regulation of multinational corporations, supports minimum wage, and expanding Medicaid for everyone. Stewart writes, "Some of my interests include: Law, History, Politics, Economics, Religion, Spirituality, Alternative Energy, and Alternative Medicine …. I am just an average guy running for U.S. Senate. I believe that North Carolinians are tired of the status quo. They need someone to be their voice in Congress. I will speak boldly and truthfully to the establishment on behalf of all of the American people. If North Carolina needs someone to oppose big government, lobbyists, and special interest groups they can count on me to take that stand."

Sounds good to me.

Ernest T. Reeves:  http://www.ernestreeves.com/#!about_us/csgz

Reeves is a retired military officer from Greenville, NC. Interestingly, Reeves credits late NC Senator John East (R) for helping him get into the U.S. Military Academy Preparatory School in Ft. Monmouth, N.J. Reeves's father Alfred Reeves had taken care of Senator East's yard for years. Reeves describes himself as "a disabled and combat zone veteran who currently serves as an entrepreneur, advocate for the elderly, and as a member of the Saint Augustine’s University Pitt County Alumni Chapter."

Kay Hagan: https://nc.kayhagan.com

Hagan is finishing her first term in the U.S. Senate. Before her election in 2008, she had served several terms in the NC Senate and had served as a chief budget writer. She is from Greensboro, is married with three grown children. Prior to being elected to the NC General Assembly, she worked as a banker for NCNB, North Carolina's largest bank at that time.

Meh.

While Hagan has been good on so-called "Women's Issues" (supported the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act,  the Violence Against Women Act, and measures that increase women’s access to preventive care), Hagan has irritated me (a progressive) on more than one occasion during her term in the US Senate. While I'm sure there's much difficulty in walking a tightrope as a Democrat in a southern state that's been taken over by radical right-wingers, she's too conservative for me, so I've struggled with an endorsement of her and seriously considered a vote for Stewart instead. But when all is said and done, her Senate seat is the Number One target of the Koch Brothers this elections cycle, and she's the only primary candidate I can see who has a chance at overcoming their cash. She promises a fight back, so I'll stand with her in this primary.


US HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, District 5: (you may vote for one)

I attended a candidate forum on April 3rd to hear from each of the candidates running for the District 5 House of Representatives Seat and based my endorsement on what I heard at that meeting. The winner of this primary race will face off against Virginia Foxx in November.

Will Stinson:  no Website or Facebook found.

Stinson previously ran in both 2010 and in 2012 for the District 73 seat in the NC House of Representatives. He lives in Boonville (Yadkin County) and is a crop production manager for Smith Farms. I found Stinson personally appealing at the candidate forum. His comments about how Obamacare had personally affected his family and friends for the better were well-spoken and from the heart. I was especially impressed that Stinson, when asked what the first thing he would do once elected, was to respond that he would assemble the best staff possible for constituent services.

Gardenia Henley: http://www.thepeoplescandidate.org/home.htm

Henley is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force, is an accountant, and has worked as an auditor at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). She has previously run for Mayor of Winston-Salem in 2013 and for Governor of North Carolina in 2012. Henley is smart and would be an interesting choice to run against Foxx. She says, "I strongly oppose initiatives that place the overall school system including teachers' salaries in jeopardy. I will work tirelessly to insure that funding for the schools in all of North Carolina will go to the areas that need it the most. No longer will our most precious human resources (our children) be ignored because of political preferences."

Michael W. Holleman: http://hollemanforushouse.com

Holleman was a candidate for the Wilkes County Commission in 2012. He is a technology design and innovations teacher at North Wilkes Middle School and a native of the Temple Hill community of southeastern Wilkes County. After graduating from East Wilkes H.S., he earned an A.A. degree in electronics engineering technology from Wilkes Community College. After working for several years for Weyerhaeuser and Gravely International, Holleman decided to return to school and earn his degree in education, which he did at ASU in 2000. He's worked for the past 14 years as a public school teacher.

I was leaning towards an endorsement of Holleman prior to the candidate forum (I tend to lean towards public school teachers for office). While I found him engaging and prepared, he did not speak effectively to the issues I most cared about and seemed to "hedge his bets" on some of the controversial issues.

Joshua (Josh) Brannon: http://joshforushouse.com

Brannon is a graduate of the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics and attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He moved to Watauga County five years ago and is a software developer. One of the reasons I considered not endorsing Brannon for this seat, is that he can appear dispassionate at times and tries to manage his own campaign and be a candidate at the same time, an impossible task. Having said that, his campaign structure seems no better or worse than that of any of the other candidates vying for this seat.

Once at the forum, Brannon found his footing. He zeroed in on how we the people are losing our democracy and that without strong pushback we were headed towards an oligarchy. He was progressive on all issues, but he continually focused, beat the drum so to speak, on how we are about to lose America to the money-driven interests of the rich and powerful. This sang to me, as does this:

“Our current Congresswoman, Virginia Foxx, has taken positions that are damaging to the 5th District and to our state. As is unfortunately common now, Ms. Foxx has taken up the mantle of big corporations and her 1% donors, at the expense of the people’s rights, success, and health. I intend to call her out on these harmful policies. I intend to be the voice of the people in our district. Ms. Foxx may do the bidding of multinational corporations and her millionaire contributors both in Washington and nationwide — I will answer to the people she has failed to serve. I grew up in North Carolina. I love this state. And I refuse to sit on the sidelines while her policies continue to damage our people."
 

NC SUPREME COURT: (you may vote for one)

Three of North Carolina's seven Supreme Court seats are held by Republicans. The two top winners of the May 6th primary will advance to run against each other in November.  The Republicans have fielded two candidates, in hopes of knocking the sole Democratic candidate out of contention for November. There will be intense outside money coming into this race by outside conservative SuperPacs to make that happen.

Eric Levinson (Republican): http://www.levinsonforjustice.com

Mecklenburg County Superior Court Judge Eric Levinson received his law degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Law and currently serves the Superior Court in counties all across western, central and eastern North Carolina. According to his website, he has worked in all branches of the court system and was appointed by the Bush Administration as Justice Attaché to Iraq for the U.S. Department of Justice "where I managed the U.S. Government’s diplomatic relationships with the Iraqi judiciary; managed the in-country rule of law team that consisted of Assistant U.S. Attorneys and a variety of law enforcement professionals; and coordinated the establishment of Major Crimes Courts where terrorists were prosecuted."

While Levinson claims bi-partisan support, he has been endorsed by the Facebook group, NC Experienced Conservative Judges, a group that promotes itself as wanting to bring constitutional conservatives to all branches of the state's court system.

Levinson tries to keep his prejudices out of the public eye, but in December 2002, he told the anti-LGBT American Family Association’s AgapePress, “My faith is something I rely on day to day, something I try to be mindful of whether I’m in the courtroom or out of the courtroom. [Faith] is an important part of my life.”  He has also said America has a “strong religious foundation" and this: "Religion is an important part of this nation and its fabric. We can’t ignore that one of this country’s strengths is recognizing that we have a strong religious foundation …. There is a point where the courts can go too far with respect to trying to maintain separation of church and state. There is a balance that must be considered.” and this: "I believe the genesis of our great nation and our body of statutory law can be found in the teachings of our Judeo-Christian heritage.”

Robin Hudson (Democrat): http://www.robinhudson.org

Hudson is running for reelection to the NC Supreme Court and by all accounts has been an outstanding justice.

Hudson previously served six years on the NC Court of Appeals. She was born in DeKalb County, Georgia, and after studying philosophy and psychology at Yale University, she earned a law degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1976. Except for three years as a state appellate defender, Hudson worked in private practice in Raleigh and Durham until 2000, when she was elected to the North Carolina Court of Appeals, the first woman to be elected to an appellate court in North Carolina without being appointed first.

Hudson has received endorsements from the AFL-CIO, the North Carolina Association of Educators, the North Carolina Advocates for Justice, and endorsements from six former Justices of the Supreme Court and seven former members of the Court of Appeals.

“Folks face challenges with their jobs, their families, and their property. Challenges with safety, kids, and schools. People want judges to decide these issues fairly, and during my 13 years of service on the appellate courts I’ve worked hard to decide these issues fairly in every case that comes before me. I never bring any personal or political bias into the courtroom,” says Hudson on her Facebook page.

The Republican Party now controls all three branches of state government and the congressional delegation. It hopes in November to pick up the seats of U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan, U.S. Rep. Mike McIntyre and state Supreme Court Justice Robin Hudson to consolidate its power.

 
Jeanette Doran (Republican): http://jeanetteforjustice.com

Join me in welcoming Art Pope's candidate for the North Carolina Supreme Court.  Doran was recently named to head the unemployment benefits review panel, and she has been the executive director and general counsel of the North Carolina Institute for Constitutional Law, an organization long associated with state budget director Art Pope. From her website: "Known in conservative circles for her explanation of the hidden taxes and new bureaucracies created by Obamacare, Jeanette has earned a reputation for understanding even the most complex law but not forgetting the fundamentals of both the state and federal constitutions." Jeanette appears to be the "chosen one" among conservative Republicans to sweep the NC Supreme Court under the same political thumb that now controls the rest of state government.

COUNTY BOARD OF EDUCATION: (you may vote for three)

Adam L. Trivette (Unaffiliated): (no Facebook page or website found)

Adam Trivette is 30 years old and works for the Physical Plant at Appalachian State University. He lives in Vilas and is a graduate of Watauga High School and took classes at Caldwell Community College. He casts Republican ballots in primary elections.

Kurt D. Michael (Unaffiliated): "Kurt Michael for Board of Education" on Facebook

Michael is a 48 year-old clinical psychologist and teaches in the psychology department at Appalachian State University. He and his wife have two children, both of whom attended Watauga County Schools. Michael casts Democratic or Unaffiliated ballots in primary elections.

Michael and his wife, Amy, have two children; son Kauner, a junior at Watauga High, and daughter Olivia, an eighth grader at Hardin Park. Michael says he is running because he is a concerned parent; because he is "the grateful spouse of a loyal Watauga County Schools employee"; because he has devoted his entire professional life to the service of young people; and because he "would like to bring my professional perspective to the BoE, which includes advocacy for children and adolescents, especially those who deal with health impairments and disabilities that impact learning in the classroom."

While Michael's facebook page evidences a passionate friend to and progressive view of public education, and he certainly has the qualifications to match, he has not thus far shown an inclination to run a campaign of any sort. For this reason, my initial endorsement leaned towards Ron Henries. But the fact of the matter is that Michael is by far the more progressive candidate of the two, so he gets the nod. Let's hope he gets his campaign rolling soon.

Josh Kanoy (Unaffiliated): (no Facebook page or website found)

Kanoy is 34 years old and graduated from Appalachian State University in 2003 with a B.S. in physics and mathematics. He casts Unaffiliated ballots in primary elections. Kanoy spoke against the "House of Spirits" book as reading material for the Watauga High School 10th-grade honors English class at a public hearing on February 10th.

Ron Henries (Republican): (no Facebook page or website found)

Henries has worked in three Watauga county school systems since 1969. Since 1980, he has worked in Watauga County Schools as a teacher, assistant principal and principal, and twice he was awarded Principal of the Year. Subsequent to his retirement from the public school system, Henries joined the Reich College of Education at ASU as an adjunct instructor in the Department of Reading Education and Special Education.

Henries' focus is on early childhood reading, services for exceptional children and reduction of public school dropout rate. I actually find him more often than not wishy-washy on issues (finger to the wind), and am told he's never seen a principal bonus that he didn't like, no matter how little salary the teachers take home.

Even so, Henries took a brave stand in casting the swing vote in favor of retaining the "House of Spirits" book at Watauga high School: "I believe parents should have the right to decide what their children should read. Not me, and they will have the right. If they don’t want their children to read the book, then they can opt out of it."  I initially planned to endorse Henries for the May 6th primary in recognition and appreciation of that vote, but this year's school board election is very important and will be hotly contested. So I believe we need to push the three most progressive candidates through the primary and on to the November General. Since Henries is the fourth most progressive, he didn't quite make the final cut for my primary endorsement this year.

Ronald (Ronny) Holste (Democrat): "Ronny Holste for Education" on Facebook

Holste is 38 years old. He studied criminal justice at Appalachian State University and now teaches political science and psychology at Caldwell Community College. He is married to Watauga County Teacher of the Year Gina Holste and they have one daughter. He says, "The local school system must find a way to support and boost morale for local educators and administrators. In a time when public education feels 'under fire' by the state legislature, it is extremely important for the local boards to continue to find innovative and 'local' ways to energize and boost the morale of our teachers. They need to know that their school board has 'their back' when the going gets tough and that their voice matters."

I really like Holste. I have canvassed neighborhoods with him and have found him to have an exceptional ability to communicate his vision in strong support of public schools and teachers. He is passionate about improving public schools and will make an excellent School Board member. Holste supported the "House of Spirits" as a novel for Watauga's 10th grade honors English class.

Jay Fenwick (Democrat): "Jay Fenwick for Education" on Facebook

Fenwick lives in Todd and is a computer science professor at Appalachian State University. He has also been a member of the Green Valley PTA for many years, serving two years as president. He joined the board of the Watauga Education Foundation and served as president from 2009-2011 and volunteers his expertise to assist teachers with STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) curricula.

Fenwick lives in Todd with his wife, Cindy, and their three sons, two of whom are current students in Watauga County schools. Fenwick says, "I've been fully invested in Watauga County education every step of the way."
Fenwick ran for Watauga School Board in 2012 and made an excellent showing for a first time candidate, losing to incumbent Henries by a mere 266 votes. Fenwick supported the "House of Spirits" as a novel for Watauga's 10th grade honors English class.

I am delighted Fenwick is running again this year. He has a passion for education, a wonderful sense of humor, a phenomenal resume, and an impressive commitment to students.

Tiffany Christian (Unaffiliated): "Tiffany Christian for Watauga County Board of Education" on Facebook

Christian was the first candidate to file for the Board of Education. She has graduate degrees in education, social work and theology. Her community involvement includes Hardin Park Parent Teacher Organization, Boone Sunrise Rotary, Girl Scouts and the Board of Directors for Hospitality House. According to her Facebook page, Christian owns Gigi's Uniforms & More, a clothing store in the Boone Mall. She has been an instructor in the Department of Social Work at ASU but is not currently listed on the ASU website as employed there.
Christian is an active member of Boone's Alliance Bible Fellowship.

At the School Board's public hearing on the parent challenge to "The House of the Spirits," Tiffany Christian would not take a clear position on keeping the book in the curriculum or banning it but rather urged an undefined "coming together" to define what's appropriate and what's not. When voters began to push her on Facebook for her definitive opinion on whether or not she believed "The House of Spirits" should have been banned, she opted out again, choosing instead to further muddy the waters with her position on options for children in wheelchairs, her philosophy regarding vegetarian options, America's ugly history on slavery, and the School Board's "
obligation to make sure that the two options that are offered to our students are academically equitable."

Maybe you can determine her position on "The House of Spirits" controversy. I couldn't, though I did catch this:
"Where do I stand? First, I strive to live my life by Christian standards and values, taking my guidance for both my beliefs and behaviors from the Bible and the example set by Jesus. Those are the values and morals I teach my children and pray that they will continue to live by." I'm not sure what she means by that since she won't say, but it sounds like a dog whistle to me.

Jason K. Cornett (Tea Party Republican): "Jason Cornett for Watauga County Board of Education" on Facebook

Cornett is a patrol officer with Appalachian State University security. He's a graduate of Watauga High School and took classes at Appalachian State University before studying theology at Victory Bible Institute, Roan Mountain, Tenn.

Cornett took a strong stand with those seeking to ban "The House of the Spirits" from Sophomore English Honors classes, quoting this passage on his Facebook page: "Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand."

About an article in The Watauga Democrat detailing attacks on the novel by county commissioners Perry Yates and David Blust, Cornett posted this: "I applaud the county commissioners that spoke out against this book. Comparing it to the Bible.....I don't think that is any where near applicable. It's issues like this that must be addressed with level headed common sense and that is what Blust and Yates did. This is the stance I expect and vote for. I join you in your efforts and will help take the stand with you. It is way past time for the conservative voters to regain confidence and go for what is right. Be vocal!"

Well, at least he took a stand.