Hi, I'm Preston!
WHERE I COME FROM
I was born in Asheville, North Carolina, and raised as a lifelong resident of Fletcher, NC. My family has a deep-rooted history in the Western North Carolina region. Both of my parents, Jonathan and Namurah Blakely were born in Asheville, NC. Additionally, my brother, Jonathan Blakely Jr. was born in Asheville, NC. My grandmother, Oralene Simmons has long been an involved community member throughout her life. My grandmother is the great-granddaughter of Joseph Anderson, an enslaved man who was held as collateral to guarantee a loan used to build Mars Hill College (now University) in Mars Hill, NC in 1856. My grandmother would go on to be the first student of color at Mars Hill College. My grandmother would go on to receive many awards including the Order of Long Leaf Pine. Additionally, my late grandmother, Patricia Blakely McCurry was one of the first black women to be a bus driver for the City of Asheville. My grandma Patricia was incredibly impactful on my life; the support and love she gave me is unmatched.
A THRIVING CAREER
I attended public school throughout my educational career. I was a student in the Asheville City Schools system, thus attending school amongst diverse students. I would go on to receive my high school diploma from Asheville High School.
I subsequently earned my Bachelor of Arts degree double majoring in Political Science and African American and African Diaspora Studies from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. I went on to earn my Master of Public Affairs from Western Carolina University (WCU). While at WCU, I was a graduate assistant in the Public Policy Institute (PPI). The PPI works with various public institutions to assist them in particular projects. For my capstone project, I created performance metrics for the City of Hendersonville’s Public Works Department. I was named the Outstanding Public Affairs Student in Public Management upon graduation.
I currently work in my family business, Quality Janitorial Group as a manager. Quality Janitorial Group was founded by my parents in 1990 and has served WNC since. Quality Janitorial provides commercial janitorial services sales throughout WNC. My family and I have spent a great deal of time ensuring that our small family business remains just that, a family. We employ many Western North Carolinians and work with numerous industries.
I am currently a member of the Fletcher Town Council and I was elected in November 2019. I earned over 70% of the vote in the general election.
I am running to be the next mayor of Fletcher to continue the pattern of competent leaders that have served in that role. Additionally, I will serve as a compassionate and community-oriented mayor. I want to continue what I have accomplished as a council member in the new leadership role as mayor. We need educated, diverse, and new voices in these important spaces. We need people who are regular working people that look like you to represent Fletcher. I will work to represent your values, morals, and priorities. I want you to tell me what you are looking for! I hope I can count on your support! Let us, together, continue to make Fletcher an amazing community!