Sen. Carl Ford appointed to powerful commission overseeing executive branch

Representative Carl Ford works in the North Carolina House Chamber, Tuesday, June 28, 2016. (North State Journal/Eamon Queeney)

RALEIGH — Sen. Carl Ford (R-Rowan), who represents Stanly County in the N.C. Senate and is serving his fourth term at the General Assembly, was appointed by Senate Leader Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) to the Government Operations Commission. The commission oversees Gov. Roy Cooper’s administration and is the main legislative investigative body over the executive branch.

“It’s an honor, and it’s a great big responsibility, especially when you get to look into the executive branch,” Ford told SCJ on Aug. 14.

He listed executive orders, spending of money and the pipeline as main concerns that he believes the coFmmission should look at.

“And what’s going on with the executive branch that we don’t know about that we should know about?” Ford asked. “Everyone keeps saying elections have consequences. Well, look at the judges and the decisions they’ve made; look at the DOT and the debacle there; look at the Board of Elections, and he’s in charge of that; look at the DHHS; and the list goes on and on.”

Berger, who leads the Republican-majority Senate, said of Ford’s appointment, “Sen. Ford’s passion for effective, honest government will be an asset to the Joint Legislative Commission on Governmental Operations. Sen Ford takes the legislature’s Constitutional oversight role seriously, and he’ll be an important check to make sure the executive branch is doing its job properly.”

Berger co-chairs the commission along with House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland), and they each appoint members from their respective body. The commission has subpoena power and oversight jurisdiction over the agencies of the executive branch, which are currently run by Cooper’s administration.

Ford said he’s also concerned about the large COVID-19 testing errors, especially the extent they were used to justify shutdowns he believes have been harmful to the state economy.

“Well they said it’s 200,000 [tests] that are wrong, and I believe, after talking to health departments, that that number is way low,” Ford said, adding that even if it was accurate, “200,000 cases isn’t a minor little miscalculation there.”

He said in his district, which includes Rowan and Stanly counties, he’s seen the impact up close, saying, “It’s kept businesses half-way closed down, in some totally closed down.”

When asked if the commission should look at this issue more closely on how Cooper had made shutdown decisions, Ford said, “Absolutely, I think it should be looked at by almost every committee that even touches that type of thing, because it’s been devastating to our state, in tourism dollars, even in our own district with the transportation museum in Rowan County. They put them down like they’re Carowinds, or something, so they can’t even open because they offer one train ride. They can’t do anything else, except open their gift shop, which is ridiculous.”

Ford also said he worried about if the state would be voting by mail and what that would look like. The State Board of Elections is another executive branch agency that is under the commission’s oversight.

“We send out new-voter letters a couple times a year, and you wouldn’t believe the number of those that come back. Is that the postal service or is it people lying about where they live so they can register to vote?” he asked. “So we don’t want to vote by mail.”