RALEIGH — Former North Carolina state Rep. David Lewis has reemerged into public life in the role of lobbyist.
As of this morning, Lewis has filed paperwork for his lobbying firm, Trek Strategies, LLC. The company has a website, TrekNC.com, which states the company is a “strategic consulting firm with decades of experience in public relations, government affairs, business development, and political consulting.”
Lewis spoke exclusively to North State Journal about becoming a lobbyist, saying that he hopes to utilize his experience in the legislature and working with the executive branch and local governments to advocate for good public policy in a variety of areas.
“I envision my expertise in agriculture, healthcare, and education, as well as general business, will help craft good public policy,” Lewis told North State Journal.
During his tenure at the legislature, Lewis was a key player in the passage of the NC Farm Act, as well as bringing forward the major tax policy reforms for North Carolina.
Lewis said he decided to go down the lobbing route because he enjoys the process and appreciates what it takes to make our government and economy run.
“I have the utmost respect and appreciation for public servants – both elected and civil servants,” said Lewis. “I believe I have a unique experience skill set that will help me advocate for businesses and other entities that are outside the legislative and executive sphere.”
He went on to say that public servants are terribly busy with high demands on their time and Lewis believes what is needed is someone who “truly understand the issues they are advocating for” to help public officials get a “true understanding” of the issues before them.
Lewis has received some words of support from House Majority Leader John Bell (R-Wayne).
David Lewis was not only my colleague and seatmate, he is my friend,” Bell said in a statement to North State Journal. “While he made some bad choices, he has faced it head on, overcome and it’s great he’s getting a second chance to be active in politics. David served in the legislature for over eighteen years, he knows the system and will do a great job representing his clients.”
North State Journal asked Lewis what he would say to those questioning his return to public life following his 2020 resignation and subsequent legal issues.
“I have taken full responsibility for my actions and I have gone through the process,” Lewis said. “I think each individual will have to judge me based on the totality of my work and the experiences they have had with me in the past and their own individual expectations.”
“There are good and bad in all of us,” added Lewis.” I hope and believe I have overcome the bad.”
Lewis said he is going into this venture offering his past experience that includes a wide range of policy fields. He also said he has never been accused of not having a strong work ethic and he believes people will see he will be working hard for his clients, his respect for the process and that he can “contribute in a positive way.”
In late August of 2020, Lewis, who represented Harnett County, submitted his resignation letter to House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Kings Mountain). He had originally announced his intention to retire a month earlier on July 24. At the time of his resignation, Lewis had been charged with two federal crimes in the U.S. Western District of North Carolina.
According to the case filings, Lewis pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge for late filing of taxes and a felony charge related to making a false statement to a bank. The charges are related to transactions tied to Lewis’ campaign accounts.
Court documents alleged that Lewis’ campaign issued checks in the amount of $50,000 and $15,000 to the bank account of an entity called “NC GOP Inc.” Lewis created the NC GOP Inc. account in 2018, but it was not actually affiliated with the NC Republican Party.
As reported by the Associated Press, earlier in the year, Lewis made about $300,000 in transfers from his campaign account to his bank account for his farm, according and Lewis had said his farming business had been struggling for several years.
Around Aug. 26, 2020, Lewis entered into a plea agreement that a year later would result in a sentence of two years of supervised release and a fine of $1,000 for taking $65,000 in campaign funds to help his family farm.
This story is developing and may have additional updates.