CHARLOTTE — Former North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory welcomed current Lt. Gov. Dan Forest to his morning radio show on Charlotte’s WBT Monday. Forest told McCrory he is running to unseat Gov. Roy Cooper because “leadership matters.”
“You know that we have a leadership crisis in North Carolina at the top in the executive branch,” Forest told McCrory. “It becomes more apparent just about every single day obviously. I think you know leadership really does matter, and you see the difference between your administration and what’s going on now.”
Forest added, “I think a lot of people are wondering, you know, what state Gov. Cooper’s running for governor in, because it doesn’t look a lot like North Carolina.”
As the son of Sue Myrick, a former Charlotte mayor and U.S. congresswoman, Forest said that he initially wanted to stay as far away from politics as possible, but eventually felt called to serve.
“I’m an architect. That’s what I did for 21 years, and I love my job as an architect,” said Forest. “Then I really felt called to step in and serve the people in North Carolina.”
Over the last eight years since his first campaign, Forest said he has traveled “over 300,000 miles and went to all 100 counties,” getting to know the people and what’s going on in those counties.
McCrory asked Forest if there were any situations or “strong disagreements” he has had with Cooper and his administration.
Forest said almost immediately that there were “vast differences on education” between he and Cooper.
“I’m very much in favor of school choice and letting the parents choose and putting students first over the system,” Forest said. “And so, real simple things like opportunity scholarships, this is a no-brainer. You signed those bills as well, saying that students that live in failing school districts should have an opportunity for an excellent education, and our governor stands firmly against that.”
Forest then turned to the issue of illegal immigration, noting that the Mecklenburg sheriff refuses to honor ICE detainers and has released violent offenders back into society.
“Obviously, if I were governor, as I know you would have too, Pat, that if that bill came across your desk, you’d say protecting the citizens is the most important thing that you can do as a governor,” said Forest.
Forest also said Cooper is “coming out against our farmers,” likely referring to the governor’s veto of the Farm Act, which protected N.C. farmers from costly nuisance lawsuits.
McCrory’s co-host, Bo Thompson, asked Forest what he can draw from having served two terms as lieutenant governor in moving to the role of governor.
Forest said that having the relationships he has cultivated over time on both sides of the aisle is important and that it has been interesting to serve under “very different governors.”
“I have seen how that turned out under a conservative Republican governor and now a liberal Democrat governor and have seen the differences about how things go,” said Forest. “And, like I said, I think leadership matters.”
Forest has one announced challenger in the GOP primary for governor, Rep. Holly Grange from Wilmington. The filing period for state seats opens at noon on Dec. 2, 2019.