By Atticus Finch Jr.
The Farm Bureau held a candidate forum on Thursday. Candidates for the Watauga County Commission and candidates for NC House and Senate participated.
The crowd was, as they say, in Perry Yates’ wheelhouse. He and his family have been farming land in Shawneehaw since before the Indians were here! He’s running for County Commission as the Republican substitute candidate for Tim Wilson, who got into trouble and had to step down back last March.
Despite a crowd apparently stacked agin ’em, most of the other candidates held steady. County Commission candidate Virginia Roseman noted the “if-you’re-not-native-you’re-not-squat” vibe in the room and passionately said that she wasn't born here but this is now her home and she's working for it.
Commission candidate Tommy Adams was a bit weak. He kept saying things like "I agree with most of what's been said" and reminding us over and over that he's a low-taxes-and-personal-property-rights advocate.
Lots of questions about regulations, supporting farming, building inspectors and health inspectors run amok, etc.
Some tussling among the NC House and Senate candidates. Incumbent Senator Dan Soucek said, "Look at our records. Two of us up here have not raised taxes, and one of us has." Candidate for the NC House Cullie Tarleton answered, "I'm proud of my record, Dan." House incumbent Jonathan Jordan read a sentence from Tarleton's water bill and declared, "That gives your water rights to the state," thereby laying the bomb that starts the stampede. (Jordan did the exact same thing – holding up Tarleton’s water bill and reading a sentence out of context and saying “that gives your water rights to the state” – at last Tuesday’s Chamber of Commerce candidate forum. Johnny Appleseed never planted more little seeds!)
Everyone had stories connecting them to farmers. Check!
In the parking lot afterwards, some unknown voice jeering, "Did you hear little Danny Soucek say he planted three tomato plants as a boy!"