Republican Guilford County Commissioner James Upchurch is still in his first term as a commissioner but he already has his eyes set on higher office in the 2024 election.
On Monday morning, March 27, Upchurch announced that he is running for state treasurer. Upchurch said he’s been planning to run for some time and said that he has already been getting out in front of the public in a big way as part of a preliminary effort before what’s now officially a full-blown campaign.
In the last few months, he has delivered several speeches at Republican events and at commissioner related events across the state.
“I’ve been preparing for a while,” he said of the run for treasurer. “I’ve already been to 16 counties.”
In February, Upchurch told the Rhino Times that he wouldn’t be seeking his commissioners seat again. At that time, he said he had accomplished all of his goals as a commissioner that he intended to when he was elected.
“Everything I was going to do, I did,” Upchurch said last month.
Among other things, he said that included getting more money to the schools and providing some financial help for the renovation of downtown High Point. He said he also wanted to “help make Guilford County government more transparent” and see the county become much more engaged on social media platforms. He pointed to the creation of a Guilford County Public Relations Department as one move that met those needs.
Upchurch certainly made a historic mark on the board: He is thought to be the first Guilford County Commissioner to change parties after being elected. He ran and won the seat as a Democrat and, a year after taking the seat, he changed his affiliation to Republican. That made him some new friends in the Republican party but caused him some disfavor among some county Democrats. It will be interesting to see how that move plays out among voters in the coming statewide race.
Upchurch stated in a March 27 press release, “Republicans, have worked hard over the past decade to decrease our state’s debt and lower costs for North Carolinians. Our pension fund is one of the best in the nation. It’s essential that we elect a conservative Treasurer to keep our state on the right track.”
The press release states that he is highlighting healthcare and education as two of his highest priorities.
“We need to improve healthcare in our state, and that starts with our state employees and the state health plan,” he said in the prepared statement. “I am committed to continuing the fight against hospitals that overcharge patients and lack transparency when it comes to the price of their services, thereby driving up the cost of treatment. This will ultimately make healthcare more accessible and affordable to all North Carolinians. Moreover, I am deeply concerned about the quality of healthcare in rural areas of the state. Many people living in these areas have limited access to healthcare services. I will work tirelessly to improve the quality and quantity of healthcare facilities in these areas so that everyone, regardless of their zip code, can access the healthcare they need.”
He added, “As North Carolina’s Treasurer, I will use my position as a member of the State Board of Education to empower our parents and eliminate political indoctrination in our schools. With only half of our students able to perform at grade level, it is my firm belief that we need more parent involvement, not less.”
Upchurch concluded his announcement: “I believe that North Carolina has tremendous potential, and I want to work to make our state an even better place to live, work and raise a family. I am committed to serving the people of North Carolina with integrity and passion, and I look forward to earning their support during my 100-county tour.”