A longtime Democratic member of Winston-Salem City Council is announcing his second run for state House in Forsyth County.

Dan Besse, who has represented the Southwest Ward on city council since 2005, plans to announce his candidacy during a campaign kickoff today at 4 p.m. at Little Creek Recreation Center in Winston-Salem.

Besse challenged Republican Donny Lambeth, a senior budget writer, in state House District 75 in 2018, garnering 46.9 percent of the vote compared to Lambeth’s 53.1 percent. Besse assailed Lambeth on the Republican majority’s refusal to expand Medicaid, while Lambeth ridiculed Besse as “Sanctuary City Dan” for his unsuccessful effort in 2017 to get city council to pass a resolution declaring Winston-Salem to be a “welcoming city.”

Besse’s declaration comes days after news broke that a panel of state judges threw out the current legislative district maps finding them to be an impermissible partisan gerrymander, and ordered lawmakers to draw new ones. Besse told Triad City Beat that he had already decided to run before he knew that the lines would be withdrawn.

“I’d already decided I’d be competitive in that district,” he said. “I feel confident that any map drawn under this court order will put me in a district where I’ll be competive.”

Besse said in a prepared statement that his campaign will focus on healthcare, public education and the environment, while rejecting attacks against immigrants.

“Our priorities must be affordable healthcare, excellent public schools, good jobs, clean air and water, public safety and opportunity for all,” he said. “To maintain that focus, we must reject the vicious scapegoating of minorities and immigrants, which helps no one and serves only to divide Americans.”

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