So, did state Sen. James Forrester intentionally misstate some of his medical credentials on the bio on his campaign page?
That much remains to be seen. He says he didn’t.
For those just catching up to this week’s small bit of controversy, Forrester, an 11-term Republican from Gaston County, is listed as a fellow of the American College of Preventive Medicine on both his campaign website as well as a profile of Forrester up on Gaston County GOP website.
The group, when contacted recently by a blogger, said they’d never heard of Forrester, and have now asked him to take down any references to them.
Forrester, as most N.C. Policy Watch readers will easily recall, was the primary force behind the measure to try to amend the state’s constitution and ban same sex unions, a decision that will be made by voters in May.
In addition to leading the charge for the anti-LGBT amendment, Forrester gave Asheville the new slogan “cesspool of sin”during a September town hall meeting with constituents. At that same meeting, he also claimed the lifespan of gay individuals was shorter than those of heterosexuals, something that’s been refuted repeatedly in the medical community.
Forrester spoke with N.C. Policy Watch this morning and said the whole situation is a a misunderstanding.
“If there’s anything falsified on my records it was inadvertently done,” he said. He added, “The gay and lesbian community is looking for anything they can to discredit me.”
Scott Rose, a New York-based blogger, first pointed out the problems with Forrester’s credentials yesterday on Pam’s House Blend, a progressive blog about LGBT issues.
Rose had fired off a letter to the American College of Preventive Medicine about Forrester, and they responded that he wasn’t one of theirs.
WRAL’s Laura Leslie also had this blog post last night about Forrester listing himself as a fellow of the American College of Preventive Medicine on his campaign website, and spoke with the head of the group that said they have no records of Forrester being part of the college.
But Michael Barry, the executive director of the American College of Preventive Medicine, says Forrester is not and has never been a Fellow of the College.
“A Fellow is kind of our highest designation of membership,” Barry explained. “We don’t know Dr. Forrester, so I can’t speak to his motives.”
Forrester said today that he joined the group in 1984, and has a certificate that identifies him as a fellow of the group hanging on his wall. He’s sending a copy of that to N.C. Policy Watch for verification.
He said he thinks the the American College of Preventive Medicine took him off their rolls when he missed some yearly dues, and that their records don’t go back to the early 1980s, when he joined.
We’ve put in a call to American College of Preventive Medicine to see if that explanation is viable, and will update this post when we hear back.