Dan Forest is the Republican candidate for North Carolina’s governor. The governor’s election is scheduled for Nov. 3, 2020.
Candidate Name: DanForest
Race: N.C. Governor
Biography: Dan Forest is a father, husband, businessman and current lieutenant governor of North Carolina. He grew up in Charlotte and graduated from the College of Architecture at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. He then began a two-decade career as an architect and business man, ultimately becoming an office president and senior partner in the state’s largest architecture firm.
In 2012, Dan left that career behind to pursue a calling to serve the people of North Carolina. That November, he became only the second Republican elected to the office of lieutenant governor since 1897. In office, he has continually advocated for policies that drive economic growth, create jobs and spur innovation. He has become a leader in the school choice movement as a way to help children succeed regardless of their ZIP code. Dan also spearheaded an initiative to connect every classroom in North Carolina with high-speed internet, and championed a bill to preserve free speech rights on public college campuses — the first bill of its kind in the United States.
As lieutenant governor, Dan also presides over the N.C. Senate and sits on the State Board of Education and State Board of Community Colleges.
Dan lives in Wake County with his wife, Alice. He is the founder and former president of the faith-based Triangle Leadership Forum and a regular volunteer at the Durham Rescue Mission.
Why should the people of North Carolina elect you as governor?
North Carolina needs a governor who will reopen the economy, get our children back in school, restore law and order, and protect both lives and livelihoods with the same intensity. The next few years will be critical for our state. As we rebuild our economy, we can’t leave any neighborhood behind — urban, rural, or anywhere in between. That’s why I’m running for governor.
My campaign is about three things: Unity, opportunity, and possibility. I believe we can bring North Carolinians together around shared values, like hard work, family, and patriotism. We can work to provide opportunities for all people, in education and the job market. When we do that, North Carolina’s best days are certainly ahead of us.
What is the most important legislative issue facing North Carolina, and what is your position on it?
Creating jobs. With more than 1 million North Carolinians out of a job, we need to quickly get our state back to work and repair the damage to our economy. This is more important than just subsistence: So many of society’s ills can be cured by a good job. We need to make sure that all parts of our state have the infrastructure needed to land job opportunities and that people have the training and skills needed to fill them. We also need to ensure we have a suitable vision for North Carolina to lead the way to opportunity.
Putting students first. For too long, our education system has prioritized the system over the student. Parents know best what classroom setting works for their child, and we must protect school choice options so all students have access to a good education regardless of ZIP code. Right now, that includes reopening schools so every family has the option of in-person instruction
Protecting law and order. The government’s first priority should be the security of the people. We are watching murder rates climb in our major metropolitan areas. We must keep violent criminals off our streets and behind bars where they belong.
What is the top challenge facing North Carolina, and how would you address it if elected?
Beyond the most important issues facing our state, I see three key challenges our state must face in the coming years.
1. Creating one North Carolina. Too many politicians spend their time stoking fear and division, dividing people into categories and expecting them to all think the same way and vote the same way. North Carolina must reject identity politics. Our state benefits from our rich diversity, but we must not forget that we all have much more in common than we have differences.
2. Preparing for the modern economy. I see a disconnect between the jobs in demand and the training needed to land those opportunities. We must have an education plan that connects what students are learning to the demands of the market.
3. Bridging the urban-rural divide. Our urban and rural areas have their own unique value, and they need each other to succeed in a modern economy. Smart investments in infrastructure will provide the connectivity that will make it just as easy to do business in Washington County as in Wake County.
In light of national gun control debates, what, if any, gun laws would you support changing?
The Second Amendment protects the people’s right to own and carry a firearm, and I am deeply skeptical of laws that undermine this Constitutional right. I don’t believe we need new gun laws to protect public safety, but instead enforce existing laws against violent criminals and prevent the mentally ill from buying and accessing firearms.
What are the top three issues created by the coronavirus pandemic in North Carolina, and how would you plan to address them?
As governor, I will be more transparent about COVID-related data to give North Carolinians the full picture on how decisions are being made. I have asked the Cooper Administration time and again for the full set of data they are using to make decisions, as has the media — yet it has still not been forthcoming. Under my administration, the state’s new COVID-19 data dashboard will include information on recoveries, as well as reports of suicide, domestic violence, drug overdoses, and child abuse. With all this information, we can replace the current culture of fear with clear goals and a path forward.
With more than half our state’s COVID deaths occurring in nursing homes and similar congregate-care facilities, we’ve learned a tragic lesson on what happens if the state does not move swiftly to protect the most vulnerable. As governor, I will immediately fix the critical situation that continues to put our seniors at risk.
As governor, I will not pick winners and losers in the economy with poll-driven restrictions. Instead, I will implement policies that are proven to keep people safe, within the state and U.S. constitutions, while freeing the rest of the state to get back to their lives. We will fix the state’s broken unemployment system. And when I communicate with the people via press conference, I will not screen questions and rely on a small number of hand-picked reporters.
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