When the Executive Committee of the Guilford County Democratic Party voted to nominate Brandon Gray as the replacement for former District 6 Commissioner James Upchurch, there were a lot of happy people, but few were as pleased as Chairman of the Guilford County Board of Commissioners Skip Alston, who played a huge part in the selection of Gray.

Gray will take the seat as long as at least five commissioners vote to appoint him – and Alston said the vote is likely to be unanimous.

When Upchurch changed his party affiliation from Democrat to Republican a year after being elected as a Democrat, Upchurch also released a public statement that was highly critical of Alston and the way his fellow Democrats on the board spent money and conducted business.

Alston issued a public statement in retaliation and, for a while, there was bad blood between the two men. They later got to the point where they were pleasant with each other, however, Alston never enjoy the criticism at meetings and the no votes that Upchurch cast on Alston-led budgets and initiatives.

The 6-to 3 Democratic majority on the board was strong enough that Alston never had to worry about Upchurch’s vote killing a motion, but Alston still wanted to see a true Democrat in that seat that represents much of High Point.

Which is why Alston was so pleased on Monday, Oct. 16 that Gray will join the board once the commissioners vote to appoint him.

“He’s a true die-hard Democrat,” Alston said of Gray after Gray’s nomination Monday night.

Another thing the chairman said he loves about Gray is that he’s a true warrior in the fight against homelessness and that issue has been Alston’s number one priority for 2023.

Alston said he greatly anticipates working with Gray and added that Gray had had an eye on running for that seat in the election next year.  Alston had planned to help him win that seat, but Alston is pleased that Gray’s arrival on the board will come sooner rather than later.