PO Box 15306
W-S, NC 27113
Dan Besse is a former city council member who is the at-large Commissioner for Forsyth County.
Commissioner Besse was born in Hickory, NC. He attended the University of North at Chapel Hill, where he earned his Political Science degree in 1977 before graduating from UNC School of Law in 1980. He worked for nearly a decade as a legal aid attorney helping low-income families across a 10-county region in coastal North Carolina.
"I realized as a teenager that I could make a difference in issues I cared about through the law and through public service and I've always been drawn to those opportunities," he said.
He later moved to Winston-Salem where he works for private non-profit organizations primarily on matters related to public health and the environment. He's taught classes on government and environmental law and policy at colleges that include N.C State University, Winston-Salem State University and Forsyth Technical Community College.
The issues he saw during his involvement with his neighborhood association and conservation groups in Winston inspired him to run for City Council. He served on the Winston-Salem City Council from 2001-2020, representing the Southwest Ward for five terms.
As a City Council member, he was able to help build stronger, healthier neighborhoods and encourage good development in the city. He helped strengthen the city's bus system and pushed to have many new sidewalks and greenway miles built.
He served as chair of the City's Public Works Committee, which oversees transportation as well as water and sewer infrastructure. He represented the City in leadership roles on the urban area Transportation Advisory Committee, the Piedmont Authority for Regional Transportation, and the National League of Cities.
He was appointed by two governors to serve on state rulemaking boards charged with protection of clean water, air, and land with 8 years on the NC Coastal Resources Commission and 12 years on the NC Environmental Management Commission.
He didn't seek reelection on the City Council in 2020 to focus on running for state office. After that, he successfully ran for the at-large seat on the Board of County Commissioners.
"I was interested in an opportunity to make a difference on the county level issues that I didn't have much opportunity to work with at the city level, specifically public schools and public health," he said
He is married to Daisy Rodriguez, and their blended family has three children and five grandchildren. In his spare time, Commissioner Besse likes to run, hike and do a little bit of bicycle riding. He is an active member of Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Winston-Salem, a long-time member of Twin City Track Club and is involved with his local neighborhood association.