11695 Double Spring Road
Lewisville, NC 27023
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Ted Kaplan is a former state lawmaker who is Forsyth County’s at-large County Commissioner.
Kaplan, a Greensboro native who now lives in Lewisville, moved to Forsyth with his family when he was 3 years-old. That’s when his parents, Leon and Renee, moved their toy store, Tiny Town, to Winston-Salem. The store would evolve into Kaplan Early Learning, a leading international provider of products that enhance children's learning, headquartered in Lewisville. Kaplan was a vice president at the company before he retired and now serves on its Board of Directors.
Kaplan’s interest in politics goes back to his childhood, when he helped win a mock election at school, as the campaign manager for a mock John F. Kennedy. After attending Guilford College and serving in the Navy from 1967-1971, he returned home and joined the Forsyth County Young Democrats. He also started his career working at his family’s company, then known as Kaplan School Supply.
In 1976, he ran in his first election for the North Carolina House of Representatives and won. He was 29 years-old. This was before districts as they exist today, so he was elected and re-elected by a count-wide vote. He served in the house until 1982. In 1984, he was elected to the North Carolina Senate where he served for a decade, including a tenure as Senate Majority Leader from 1988-1992.
He said his fellow elected Democrats formed a tight knit group of lawmakers that got along and worked well together. During his time in the General Assembly, Kaplan helped get seed money for the Innovation Quarter. He also got funding for computer labs at Winston-Salem State University and to preserve the nursing program there, and to start the Filmmaking School at UNC School of the Arts.
Kaplan likes to say he lost his State Senate re-election in 1994 due to an illness: voters were sick of Democrats. He continued to be interested in politics, and eventually found that county commissioner would be a good fit. In 2006, he was first elected as a Commissioner for the at-large seat. He said he likes county-wide races because the winner is elected by a multitude of people with differences.
“Those are the only elections I’ve ever had and I’m comfortable with that,” he said. “You represent the whole county; you might as well be elected by the whole county.”
In 2010, he lost his re-election for the seat but won it back in 2014. Kaplan said he’s learned many things during his time as County Commissioner and is proud of the part he’s played in improvements at Tanglewood Park, the library and school bond referendums, the new courthouse and the many economic development projects and investments the commissioners have made in the county.
Kaplan serves on the Smith Reynolds Airport Advisory Board. He’s previously served on the WSSU Board of Trustees, UNC School of the Arts Board of Trustees and Giannini Society and is a former member of the Stratford Kiwanis Club.
Kaplan is married to his wife Deanna, who serves on the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Board of Education. They have five children: Sarah, David, Rebecca, Katherine and Max. In his spare time, he likes to travel, with Rome and Scotland being his favorite places to visit.