Commissioner candidates move to quash rumors
By Scott Nicholson
Although most candidates for the Watauga County Board of Commissioners report smooth sailing in their campaigns, some have claimed that misinformation is being spread about them.
Republican incumbent Keith Honeycutt said some people had said the school system’s funding had been cut, though he said local school spending during his four years has actually increased over 29 percent, up $2.5 million over that time including money set aside for capital projects.
Honeycutt also defended himself against criticism of his missing the budget vote. Honeycutt said the budget vote had been scheduled for an earlier meeting and he had made plans for an anniversary trip with his wife, which caused him to miss the budget vote when it was rescheduled.
He also said he was involved with the four months of budget planning and raised any concerns he had during that period and supported the budget as adopted.
Democratic candidate Mary Moretz said she was unaware of rumors but would vote differently from Honeycutt on some issues adding it was her task to bring out those issues.
She said she respected Honeycutt and said he was ethical and a good candidate.
Democratic candidate John Cooper said there were rumors attacking him but they weren’t coming from his Republican opponent, David Triplett.
Cooper said a rumor stated he would support a county steep-slope ordinance similar to the one passed recently by the Town of Boone.
“I have friends on both sides of the town issue and I have respect for the opinions of all involved,” he said. “I have suggested that both sides needed to work together for a compromise that takes into consideration the safety of all of our citizens but minimizes property restriction that will cause undue economic burden to individual home or lot owners.”
Cooper also said his role on the Committee of 100 had been misrepresented and that the county needed positive dialogue and not “name-calling and mistruths.”
Triplett was unavailable for comment as of press time.
Candidates James Coffey, a Republican, and Billy Ralph Winkler, a Democrat, said they had heard no rumors and didn’t believe any rumors were circulating about them.
The election will be Nov. 7.