James Forrester (politician)

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James Summers Forrester (January 8, 1937 – October 31, 2011) was a Republican member of the North Carolina General Assembly representing the state's forty-first senate district, including constituents in Iredell, Gaston and Lincoln counties.[1] A physician from Stanley, North Carolina, Forrester died while serving his eleventh term in the state senate, in which he also served as Deputy President Pro Tempore.[2]

James Forrester
Member of the North Carolina Senate
In office
January 1, 1991 – October 31, 2011
Preceded byJ. Ollie Harris
Marshall Arthur Rauch
Succeeded byChris Carney
Constituency25th District (1991-1993)
39th District (1993-2003)
42nd District (2003-2005)
41st District (2005-2011)
Personal details
Born(1937-01-08)January 8, 1937
Aberdeen, Scotland
Died(2011-10-31)October 31, 2011
Political partyRepublican
Alma materWake Forest University (BS, MD)
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (MPH)

Personal life[edit]

Forrester was born in Aberdeen, Scotland, the son of Jim Forrester a professional golfer. His father died in 1938 when his son was 18 months old. Forrester graduated from New Hanover High School in 1954. Forrester earned a bachelor's degree in science from Wake Forest University in 1958 and his medical degree from the Bowman Gray School of Medicine in 1962 and a Master's in Public Health from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1978.[3] On March 12, 1960, he married Mary Frances All; together they had four children. Forrester also served in the North Carolina Air National Guard, and participated in the Vietnam War as a flight physician.[citation needed] Forrester also ran a private practice for family medicine in Gaston County, North Carolina. Forrester died on October 31, 2011 at age of 74.[1]

Political career[edit]

Forrester was elected as Gaston County commissioner in 1982. In 1990, he was elected into the North Carolina State Senate.

He gained notoriety when he became the chief sponsor of Senate Bill 514 which would amend the state constitution to ban same-sex marriages in North Carolina in 2011. He had introduced this amendment at every session since 2004. After the Republicans won control of the General Assembly, Forrester's amendment eventually passed both houses. The proposed amendment to the constitution will appear on the state's 2012 primary ballot.[needs update]

Forrester came under fire for allegedly misrepresenting his medical credentials. He claimed to be a member of the American Medical Association, a fellow of the American College of Preventive Medicine and an associate fellow of the Aerospace Medical Association. The ACPM revealed that Forrester was not a member of the ACPM, let alone a fellow. Later that day, Laura Leslie of WRAL-TV in Raleigh learned that Forrester was not an associate fellow of the Aerospace Medical Association either. The next day, Leslie reported that Forrester was not a member of the American Medical Association.[4][5] Senator Forrester's response to this was, "If there's anything falsified on my records it was inadvertently done." He added, "The gay and lesbian community is looking for anything they can to discredit me."[6]


  1. ^ a b "State Sen. Forrester dead at age 74". News & Observer. Archived from the original on November 2, 2011.
  2. ^ "Senator James Forrester (Republican, 2011–2012 Session)". North Carolina General Assembly. Archived from the original on April 7, 2011. Retrieved March 31, 2011.
  3. ^ https://archive.org/stream/northcarolinaman19931994nort#page/386/mode/2up
  4. ^ Scott Rose, Michael A. Barry, CAE, Jennifer Edwards (September 29, 2011). "Email exchange "URGENT COMPLAINT: DR. JAMES FORRESTER" (PDF). FireDogLake.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)[permanent dead link]
  5. ^ Leslie, Laura. Forrester resume misleads. WRAL-TV, September 29, 2011.
  6. ^ Ovaska, Sarah. "Forrester falsified credentials? Maybe, maybe not". Retrieved November 3, 2011.

External links[edit]

North Carolina Senate
Preceded by
J. Ollie Harris
Marshall Arthur Rauch
Member of the North Carolina Senate
from the 25th district

Served alongside: John Carter, Helen Rhyne Marvin
Succeeded by
David W. Hoyle
Preceded by
District created
Member of the North Carolina Senate
from the 39th district

Succeeded by
Robert A. Rucho
Preceded by
Robert C. Carpenter
Member of the North Carolina Senate
from the 42nd district

Succeeded by
Austin M. Allran
Preceded by
R. B. Sloan Jr.
Member of the North Carolina Senate
from the 41st district

Succeeded by
Chris Carney