Updated: Feb 12
By Kevin Ellis Gazette staff
More than a dozen men and women have announced they’ll seek the office of North Carolina’s lieutenant governor next year, including Greg Gebhardt, a career soldier, husband and father to three young girls.
Choosing to run a statewide campaign in his first attempt at elected office means his first obstacle may be name recognition in an already crowded field.
“It’s one conversation at a time, and I really enjoy that because I’m a people person,” said the 39-year-old Gebhardt, who makes his home in Holly Springs outside Raleigh. “I like meeting people and I like hearing their concerns.”
Gebhardt left his home early last Thursday to speak to the Gaston County Republican Women’s group at Jackson’s Cafeteria. From there he came by The Gazette offices, but was making his way to Pinehurst for a campaign event later that night.
Gebhardt said he grew up with a single mother living in a trailer park in Pennsylvania where they relied on food stamps to help get by from week to week.
He enlisted in the Army in 2000, and then went on to graduate from West Point in 2006 as part of a group of enlisted men and women who entered the service academy after having already enlisted.
He commanded a company of 225 paratroopers in Iraq in 2011. He retired from active duty in 2012 as a major in the Army and now holds the same rank in the North Carolina National Guard.
Since leaving the military full time, he has worked as a business consultant and for Rep. David Lewis, a Republican from Dunn and the second highest ranking member of the state House.
Gebhardt married his high school sweetheart.
He has thought about entering politics since leaving active duty in the military. He says he decided this was the year to run because he believes too many people in this country seem to be leaning toward socialism.
“I want my three little girls to have the same opportunities as their dad had,” Gebhardt said.
He chose to run for lieutenant governor because that position leads the State Board of Education.
He believes the state’s public schools could do more to push vocational education, which he said would allow young people to obtain good paying jobs without incurring so much college debt.
“I want to use the office of lieutenant governor to really champion the vocational trades,” he said.
The state’s current lieutenant governor, Dan Forrest, is running for governor.
You can reach Kevin Ellis at 704-869-1823 or email@example.com.