After the Forsyth County Coroner Lauren McDonald recently announced he would be seeking the District 26 state House seat in 2020, a candidate has announced his campaign for the seat.
Gary Coffey has announced he is vying to become the Republican nominee for the seat that McDonald has held since 2017. Coffey is a sixth-generation Forsyth County resident and has been a licensed funeral director and embalmer for 21 years.
Coffey is a funeral director with Darby Funeral Home in Canton, which he said was a benefit for his campaign since he does not work for a funeral home in the county and doesn’t want families of the deceased to “be pressured or pushed into using a funeral home because they don’t think there’s a choice.”
“It’s time for the coroners to get out of the funeral home business,” he said. “To be quite honest with you, the reason that it is that way was that years and years ago, funeral homes were the only ones that had the equipment to move a body, they were the only ones that had stretchers and staff willing to touch deceased individuals, but that’s clearly changed now.”
This is Coffey’s first campaign, but he said he has “wanted to serve people in this capacity for a long time.”
Coffey is a co-founder of Reality Check, a local program for young adults and teenagers used by the Forsyth County Juvenile Court and meant to prevent them from making poor decisions and showing “the reality of what can happen if poor choices are made.”
If elected, Coffey said he aims to take on preventing deaths that often affect those who are younger, like drug overdoses and suicide.
“One thing that’s very important to me is, as we know, drugs have ravaged our community,” Coffey said. “I want to work with the county, the school system, the county elected officials, law enforcement and all agencies to do what we can to reach out to our young people. Suicide prevention is also something that’s very important to me.”
Gary is married to his wife, Kimberly, and his daughter, Olivia, attends Sawnee Elementary School.
He is a member of the Forsyth County Republican Party, sits on the local school system’s advisory council for health, science and biotechnology and is a member of Matt Lodge #694 F&AM, Cumming Shrine Club, Cherokee Shrine Club and Yaarab Shrine Temple.
Republican and Democratic voters will select their party’s candidate for coroner and other local offices in May before the general election in November 2020.