Greg Gebhardt, a policy advisor in the N.C. House of Representatives, is running in the Republican primary for lieutenant governor of North Carolina.
Gebhardt sat down with the Statesville Record & Landmark to discuss his campaign platform and his views on relevant issues.
One of the central components of Gebhardt’s platform is the advocacy of the North Carolina voter ID law. The law requires voters to present photo identification in order to cast a ballot.
Gebhardt said that he helped craft the original voter ID law in 2013. That law is now being handled in the court system as a federal court ruled earlier this year that the law was proposed, at least partially, with discriminatory intent.
This was after 55% of voters in the 2018 election decided to make voter ID a state constitutional amendment.
Gebhardt claimed that the court ruling in this way is an act of creating laws instead of interpreting laws.
“The legislature is made up of lawmakers who are elected by the people to pass laws, and the judiciary is to say what the law is, not to write the law. But yet time and time again we have activist jurists who are trying to make law, not interpret law,” Gebhardt said.
The original voter ID law, which was not made a constitutional amendment, was struck down in 2016 by a federal court. The court ruled that the law would “target African-Americans with almost surgical precision” and “impose cures for problems that did not exist.”
Gebhardt responded to claims that the law is discriminatory by arguing that if a photo identification is needed to purchase a firearm then it should also be needed to vote.
“If I go down the road right now and walk into Walmart and buy a shotgun, you know what they’re going to ask for? They’re going to ask for my photo identification,” Gebhardt said.
He said he compared the two because they are both constitutional rights.
Gebhardt said that the purpose of the law is to increase integrity of election systems and to decrease voter fraud.
An audit of the 2016 election in North Carolina reported that voter fraud, while it does exist, is rare and would not come close to overturning an election. The audit concluded that voter fraud is “neither rampant nor non-existent in North Carolina” and “ineligible voters are not isolated to one political party or any geographical region of the state.”
Gebhardt said that he supports investing more in vocational training for North Carolinians.
“We need to remove the stigma that if you don’t go on to a four-year institution, that you will not be successful in life,” Gebhardt said.
Gebhardt said that North Carolina has some of the best community colleges in the country and that students should be made more aware of the vocational training that those offer.
“We’re not having an honest conversation with our young men and women,” Gebhardt said. “We need to remove the stigma that somehow honest, hardworking blue-collar work is not admirable or honorable, and it absolutely is.”
Gebhardt said that he would support the deportation of undocumented immigrants in North Carolina.
“If they are here illegally and they are not going through the legal process to become a citizen, then I think we should look at deporting them,” Gebhardt said.
He said he also opposes sanctuary cities. Sanctuary cities are municipalities that limit cooperation with the federal government in immigration enforcement.
“Why would we be releasing those people back onto our streets if they were in possession of law enforcement and could have been turned over and not allowed to re-enter society and commit heinous acts?”
Gebhardt said that he would not support any legislation that infringes upon gun ownership rights.
“When it comes to the Second Amendment, it says, ‘shall not be infringed,’”Gebhardt said. “I would be against any legislation that prohibits Americans from exercising that Second Amendment right.”
Gebhardt said that conversation around gun violence should be focused on mental health, especially among males, as he said that it seems to be young men or teens that perpetuate most gun violence.
“We need to have an honest conversation with males about mental health,” Gebhardt said.
“We can remove the stigma around mental health issues when it comes to males in society.”