FRONT PAGE CONTRIBUTOR
Candidate Interview: Dan Forest
From the diaries
Republicans in North Carolina will head to the polls Tuesday to choose their candidate for Lt. Governor and, while runoff elections usually have a smaller turnout, voters would be wise to participate in this race in the effort to take back the state from Democrats. Dan Forest, an architect from Raleigh and son of Sue Myrick, will be up against Tony Gurley, who is currently serving his third term on the Wake County Board of Commissioners. While both candidates claim to be the conservative for the job, closer inspection finds that Dan Forest is the better choice to ultimately defeat union backed Democrat, Linda Coleman.
For her primary, the State Employees Association and it’s associates spent almost ten times the amount Coleman spent on her own campaign. Tony Gurley has been employing the same tactic as Coleman, receiving new funding from a PAC formed for him at the end of last month. Meanwhile Dan Forest has been knocking on doors across the state, meeting with voters and getting a real sense of what is facing North Carolinians with Democrats in control. Forest aspires to make North Carolina “the most friendly state for business in America,” which resonates with the many unemployed with which he has spoken. As an entrepreneur with over 23 years business experience, Forest knows how to create jobs; despite Obama’s recent admission that he believes small business owners do not create their own success. In fact, Steve Forbes endorsed Forest early in the race and he’s also received endorsements from Eagle Forum PAC (a conservative public policy organization founded by Phyllis Schlafly) and Mike Huckabee.
I had the opportunity to ask Mr. Forest some questions about this important election in North Carolina –
1. What prompted you to run?
I believe we have a leadership crisis in America and in North Carolina and I didn’t want to sit by and do nothing to help improve the situation. My background is business, not politics. Many of the challenges our state faces are economic and I feel my background is well suited to help find solutions.
2. What are the biggest challenges facing North Carolina?
High unemployment, highest corporate tax rate in the Southeast, highest gas tax in the Southeast, one of the highest personal income taxes in the Southeast, over $30 billion in unfunded liabilities…. we either fix these problems or we don’t compete and create jobs.
3. What kind of mood are you encountering from the voters?
People are hungry for leadership. Unemployment is high and people want jobs. They don’t feel the current executive teams in Washington and Raleigh understand the depth of their anxiety and are incapable of putting forth solutions. They know things are broken and new leadership is needed.
4. What are your thoughts on school choice?
I support school choice. We need to turn the power and control over education back to the local level. We need to break the state run school monopoly so that competition and innovation make their way into our public school systems.
5. What will you do as Lt. Governor to push for education reform?
I will champion school choice. I will fight to end tenure. I will fight for merit based pay for excellent performance. I will be a strong advocate for vocational training and apprenticeship programs so that those children who do not want to go to college have a viable and productive option to pursue.
6. What will you do to reverse the high unemployment trend in NC?
I will work to level the business playing field between NC and its neighbors in the Southeast. We need to lower our gas tax to a rate competitive with our southern state neighbors. We need to begin eliminating the corporate income tax and lowering our personal income tax rate. I also want to push for the creation of a special tax bracket especially for small business owners so that they are no longer penalized at tax time for their efforts to create jobs. All these actions will make NC more competitive in recruiting companies to come to our state.
7. What effect do you think Unions will play in this election and what do you think their intentions are?
I am a strong advocate for NC remaining a “right to work” state. I think the unions will be active in NC, both in the Governor’s race and in my own, should I receive the Republican nomination. I believe their intentions are clear… to defeat those candidates who support NC being a “right to work” state. We must fight back and defeat them.
8. What is your position on Obamacare in light of the supreme court opinion and what advice would you give to the governor on this issue?
We need to elect leaders with the backbone to give the stiff arm to the federal government whenever the feds try to usurp powers that are not expressly given unto it. The current executive team in Raleigh has failed in this effort. We need a new President and new Congress to overturn Obamacare. And a new executive team in Raleigh to stand against any future federal encroachments.