A former Forsyth County commissioner is interested in leading the Forsyth County Republican Party.
Patrick Bell, who served as District 4 Commissioner from 2009 to 2012, announced on Monday his intention to run for chair of the Forsyth County GOP. Current Forsyth County Republican Party Chairman Justin Hawkins announced last week he would be stepping down as of March 23.
“I’ve been involved with the community for over 11 years now,” Bell said. “I’ve taken some time recently to focus on my businesses, but with Justin moving on to bigger and better things, I just felt that the opportunity was there for me to step back in and give some guidance and assistance and be part of a team continuing to carry the Forsyth County GOP forward.”
Bell, a small business owner and licensed real estate agent, said this being an election year meant leadership in the party was crucial.
“From the election standpoint, of course, it is critically important that we protect the conservative values that we have here in this county,” he said. “With the governor’s race and the congressional race, someone has to carry that momentum that Justin started.”
It is not immediately clear when the next chair will be selected by members of the party.
If selected, Bell said he wants to use his experience in office and relationships he’s made both in and out of Forsyth to benefit the party.
“It taught me a lot of things when I was on the board,” he said. “The relationships I made with people will be valuable being chairman of the GOP. I’ve got relationships with people in Washington. I’ve got relationships with people at the [state] Capitol and certainly relationships with people back home.”
He said Hawkins had built and maintained relationships for the party during his term, which Bell said he plans to continue.
“The chairman doesn’t, as some people think, call the shots but is really the one that kind of corrals everybody together to move towards the common goal,” Bell said. “Those relationships I have will, I think, help us with fundraising, will help us make sure that Forsyth is important at the state GOP level and, of course, at the national GOP level and when we’re moving issues forward.”
Bell has lived in the county for 20 years and has two grown children and four grandchildren. He has served three terms as chairman of the church council at Bethelview United Methodist Church.