JEFFERSON — During the 2019 municipal elections Tuesday, Nov. 5, the people of Jefferson will vote for their next board of aldermen members and a mayor, choosing between two aldermen and two mayoral candidates.
Incumbent Mayor Bluferd Eldreth, who has served on the Jefferson Board of Aldermen since 1989, is being challenged by Mike Spencer for the position. Cathy Ballou, who was appointed earlier this year after her brother stepped down as alderman, and Charles Caudill are running unopposed for two aldermen seats.
The Ashe Post & Times fielded seven identical questions to each of the candidates via email, direct mail or over the phone, with Cathy Ballou and Bluferd Eldreth being the only two candidates to respond. Their responses are as follows:
APT: Tell us about yourself.
Bluferd Eldreth: I am an Ashe County native, born in Lansing on May 3, 1935, moved to Three Top at age 4-5. Spent two year in the U.S. Army from 1958-1960 stationed in Germany. Came home, married Shirley Roark in 1960, have two girls and one boy, five grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
Cathy Ballou: My name is Cathy Ballou and I’m the daughter of the late Meredith and Shelba Ballou. I was born and raised here in Jefferson and this is home. I work as a computer programmer for Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center and have been there since July 1986.
APT: Why did you decide to run?
Bluferd Eldreth: I have been on the board of aldermen since 1989. Five years as mayor pro tem, and mayor since Mayor Tugman passed on.
Cathy Ballou: I was appointed to the position by my brother, Rick Ballou, when he moved out of the township and have served for the last several months. I decided to run this term to help ensure that Jefferson continues to be a thriving, peaceful, wonderful place to visit and live.
APT: Why do you think you’re the right choice for the position you’re running for?
Bluferd Eldreth: Experience.
Cathy Ballou: I saw my father take great pride in helping Jefferson be a thriving community, which gives me a better insight on what it takes to run a town. I know many of the people that live here and believe that they feel comfortable coming to me with thoughts and suggestions which, in my opinion, should be an alderman’s main priority (to listen to the people) that make us a town. I want to see our town look as good as our neighboring town of West Jefferson and ensure that our citizens reap all the benefits that come with revitalization. I also feel that I can offer another point of view to the current board being that I am the only female.
APT: What are some ways you believe the Town of Jefferson could be improved?
Bluferd Eldreth: Keep moving in the right direction.
Cathy Ballou: Our surrounding towns of West Jefferson and Lansing have been able to secure grant money to help with the improvements that have been made in those areas. When my father was town manager I know that was a huge part of what he did and believed in, and I think this needs be addressed. Our town needs to strive to be the best that it can be for our residents and visitors.
APT: What do you hope to achieve in this term?
Bluferd Eldreth: Keep the town moving in the right direction.
Cathy Ballou: I would also like to see the minutes of meetings and town’s budget be posted in the paper and online as it is in West Jefferson. The citizens of Jefferson deserve to know what is being discussed and where their tax dollars are being spent.
APT: How can Ashe County or the state do more to help your town?
Bluferd Eldreth: By helping with growth and support.
APT: What are your thoughts on the new middle school being constructed in Jefferson?
Bluferd Eldreth: It’s hard for schools and plants to build without water and sewer.
APT: Is there anything else you would like to elaborate on?
Bluferd Eldreth: Hope all voters will get out and vote in town.