Blade Says He's Running for Woodfin Mayor - TribPapers

Blade Says He’s Running for Woodfin Mayor

Josh Blade. Photo submitted.

Woodfin – Before the January Woodfin Town Council meeting, a man introduced himself and shook hands with residents in attendance. The man, Josh Blade, is running for mayor of Woodfin.

Asked for some background information for this story, Blade, 35, directed the Tribune to his campaign website ( According to his website, “for the last 12+ years, Josh has worked in the private security sector and is currently a Protection Services Specialist for the government. He has a degree in criminal justice from A-B Tech and also studied business management and mass communications at the University of North Carolina at Asheville.”

“In 2012, he was appointed to the Board of Directors of Crime Stoppers by the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners. He left in mid-2013 to continue his studies. Josh has a wonderful family with two beautiful daughters. He and his family have lived in Woodfin for close to 20 years.”

Asked to elaborate on his career, Blade told the Tribune, “So by private security sector, I mean I did different things in private security. I was a security officer, a customs protection officer, etc. I guarded banks during the Occupy Wall Street protests. I’ve protected whole apartment complexes, I’ve protected schools, etc. As far as my current job, I don’t know how much they would want me to elaborate because they would rather I keep my job out of this. It’s not that my job is secretive or anything. It’s just that they can’t appear to be supporting or endorsing anyone.”

His website went on to state, “Josh’s goal in becoming mayor is to make sure the citizens of Woodfin have a say in what happens to their town. There have been recent controversies, such as the planned development, where a lot of citizens were either for or against it but felt like they were not heard because the town leaders were more easily accessed by the developers. It’s time for change.”

The website says, “If Josh is elected, he will set up an email where he can communicate directly with citizens, and they can contact him with any thoughts or concerns.”

“When I say I want to make sure the citizens of Woodfin have a say in what happens to their town, I mean I want to encourage them to come to all public meetings, speak during the public comment portions, and email me as well,” explained Blade. “Elected officials are supposed to be the representatives for the collective people as a whole, so I want the people to speak their mind and tell me what, if any, they believe the major problems are in our town.” Currently, all elected officials have their emails listed on the town’s website.

Blade’s objectives are laid out

On his webpage, Blade has listed the following as his objectives:

“Monitoring the needs of our community and adjusting policies and practices when necessary to preserve peace and prosperity.Planning where a development should or should not go in order to help the rural areas encourage growth in town, where businesses can thrive on a walkable main street and families can live close to their daily destinations,”Enacting policies that protect the rural landscape and help preserve open space, protect air and water quality, provide places for recreation, and create tourist attractions that bring investments into the local economy”Enacting policies that support walking, biking, and public transit in order to help reduce air pollution from vehicles while saving people money.”

“When I talk about monitoring the needs of our community and adjusting policies when necessary, I do not mean that whichever side makes the most noise will get what they want. I mean that based on the people speaking up by the means I spoke of earlier, I, along with the rest of the council, will discuss the needs that are presented and weigh those needs against such things as necessity, urgency, impact factors, etc. and make decisions based on those things,” he clarified.

Blade admits, “The position of mayor by itself does not have the power to enact any program they see fit. That’s why there’s a council, so one person doesn’t control everything. The main thing I want is to help the people. I want them to tell me what they believe the major issues are in Woodfin, and then I would like to work with them and the council to resolve these issues. It won’t just be major issues either, because there are a lot of people who have individual issues, and I want them to feel like they’ve been heard. Even if I can’t fix every issue, I will listen to them and do the best I can to help.”

Additional questions were sent to Blade

The Tribune asked some additional questions to help citizens get to know him and his campaign better. Asked what sparked his interest in a run for mayor, Blade said, “So my interest in running was sparked about 13 or 14 years ago, when the large involuntary annexation was taking place. The amount of area the Woodfin government wanted to annex was large enough that another 3,600 or so people would instantly become residents of the town. Hundreds of people showed up for the public meetings. Many voiced their opinions but felt like they were not heard at all. It seemed as though the decision had already been made before the public meetings began and that public comment was not considered a factor. That is when I first thought about running for office sometime in the future because I knew what it felt like to not be heard or have any say in what happened in an area that directly affected your life.”

Asked about his view of the role of government in people’s lives, he stated, “My overall view of the role of government in people’s lives is that it is necessary to maintain a civil society. We elect officials who represent us because, without them, it would be up to every single person to maintain society. That creates chaos. You need to have law and order to be able to function properly as a society. So the government’s role is to represent the people.”

Ask about the major issue facing Woodfin. “The major issue facing Woodfin at the moment is the issue of growth or developments. There are many people who want Woodfin to stay the small, beautiful town they love, and there are others who want to see it grow so that there are more housing opportunities, more local jobs, more local businesses, etc. This is an ongoing issue but certainly one of the biggest because it encompasses whether or not to build a certain housing development, whether or not to allow short-term rentals, impact on the environment such as the cutting down of trees, as well as many other things.”

“What I would do different from the current mayor is make sure I heard from as many people that want to be heard as I can. I will be encouraging public comment whenever I can, trying to get many more people to attend the town council meetings, and just engaging with the people of the community as a whole by speaking to them personally via an email that will be set up for that purpose,” he told the Tribune.

Asked about his vision for the town’s future, Blade said, “Looking into the future, I envision the town of Woodfin continuing its growth while keeping its rural landscape and small-town feel. I envision this community becoming more tight-knit as a whole. I can see Woodfin being one of the safest and most desirable places to live in the country.

“The main concept that I want people to take away from reading this is that if I am elected mayor, I will be your representative. Most candidates for office will tell you what they believe the problems to be, but I am interested in hearing what the residents believe are the major problems. I want to hear it from them directly. Then I want to help them fix those problems,” he added.