Soon-to-be NC House District 59 Rep. Alan Branson is in an interesting position: He’s the Republican candidate for that seat, which he’s trying to win in November; however, in about a week he’ll be sworn into – and then be the occupant of – that seat.

The Guilford County Republican Party chose Branson to fill the unexpired term after former District 59 Rep. Jon Hardister stepped down from that seat last month.

Branson, the owner of a trucking company and a former Guilford County commissioner, said he’s very excited about taking on this new job when the legislative session starts.

“I have orientation on April 17 and then, on April 24, I’ll hit the ground running,” Branson said this week.

He also said that, even though he hasn’t been sworn in yet, he’s already getting a feel for what it’s like. That’s because people are already contacting him and asking him to support certain positions, maintain funding for some programs, and get behind some state grants for small towns.

As a former county commissioner for eight years, Branson knows the political landscape, but he said there are obvious differences between being a commissioner and a state representative.

“It’s on a larger scale,” Branson said.

He added that, when the session convenes, there could be some important issues he’ll have to decide on right off the bat.

He said one question he and other legislators might have to address this spring is the dispute in Summerfield between many of the town leaders and developer David Couch, who appears to be trying to convince state legislators to allow him to de-annex about 1,000 acres of his property from Summerfield.  That way, Couch could build a residential and mixed-use development on his land in the manner that he wants – without having to worry about opposition from the town.

Branson said he’s already hearing from those on both sides of that debate.

He also said that two things he wants to focus on in his new role are economic development and transportation.

That latter subject is a natural one for him because he’s in the trucking business and has served on the Transportation Steering Committee for the National Association of Counties.  He has also served on the Greensboro/Burlington Transportation Advisory Board.

  He added that he really wants to make sure that emergency responders – firefighters, police, EMTs, etc. – have the funding and the tools they need to do those jobs the way they should be done.

“We need safety,” he said. “We need safety in the streets; we need safety in the schools, and we need to have people show the folks in uniform more respect in general.”

On education, Branson said he’s an advocate for more school choice and he added that that’s another cause he plans to fight for.