MOREHEAD CITY – An interesting trend is developing across the North Carolina Republican primaries in which we are seeing more and more young, accomplished, intelligent, and unabashed conservatives challenging incumbent Democrats and Republicans in the General Assembly. One example we’ve profiled is Patrick Petsche in House District 44, and another we’ll bring you soon is Jarrod Lowery in in House District 48 – both looking to challenge incumbent Democrats in the general election.
Blake Beadle, though, is aiming to bring new conservative blood to House District 13, encompassing Carteret and Jones counties, which is currently represented by Republican Pat McElraft.
‘Constructive, Innovative, Conservative‘ reads Beadle’s tag line. We interviewed Beadle to bring readers, especially those in District 13, a closer look at this youthful, yet experienced conservative and came away with another adjective – impressive.
“Being a Conservative in Carteret County, means being fiscally and social conservative. But I would suggest being a Carteret Conservative encompasses that and so much more. Carteret County has an ingenuity and entrepreneurial spirit embedded in its values.” – Blake Beadle
We think you’ll agree. Read Beadle in his own words below and be sure to share with your friends on the Crystal Coast and beyond. Talk about coming to the table with solutions. This is what the future of conservative leadership in North Carolina should look like and N.C. House District 13 would do it self a favor by paying attention to this innovative, constructive, impressive conservative:
FFD: Tell us a little about yourself – where and how did you grow up, professional career, your family?
BB: I grew up in Hubert, North Carolina raised by a single mother and a first-generation college student. My father was active in my life, but geographically, he was 8 hours away. I have spent about 25 years living across Eastern North Carolina, in Onslow, New Hanover and Brunswick Counties finally settling in Carteret County. I graduated from Cape Fear Community College and attended UNC- Wilmington where I received a dual degree in Political Science and Criminal Justice, while working 40+ hours a week to maintain health insurance to treat my Type 1 Diabetes. It was during this time that I was blessed to meet my wife, who was born and raised in Carteret County.
After University, I moved to Washington D.C. and continued my education receiving my MBA, while working for a start-up Commercial Foreign Exchange Company. That company was purchased for $947 million dollars which then made it the largest commercial foreign exchange company across the globe. While working for Western Union Business Solutions, a division of Western Union, I had the unique opportunity to work with large Fortune
500 companies like 3M, Best Buy, Amazon, Salesforce while also helping small to medium size business grow through servicing their Cash Management needs. I acquired a unique skill set that allows me to comprehend the requirements to understand the unique challenges that businesses of all sizes face and help them turn these challenges, into opportunities to succeed.
Having served on the Carteret County School Board for the past 4 years, managing a budget for over 1343 employees which exceeds $95 million dollars provided the unique opportunity to understand the need for 21 st Century skill sets in Education, as well as infrastructure and economic growth. Additionally, my recent selection to the EA Morris Emerging Leader Program with the John Locke Foundation has allowed me to continue to refine my leadership skills with some of the young bright Conservative minds throughout North Carolina.
FFD: What inspired you to run for the North Carolina House of Representatives?
BB: When looking at Carteret and Jones County, and Eastern North Carolina as a whole, I noticed that 21st Century careers were really lacking. We were seeing an increase in age of our population, while wage growth and careers for younger generations disappearing meanwhile food service jobs and accommodation jobs were reigning.
I noticed that specifically in Carteret County, the average earnings per job in 1970 (adjusted for inflation) was around $30,000 while in 2016 it was $36,000. That’s 18% growth in average earnings per job over 46 years, an abysmal less than half a percent growth year over year. I noticed that from 2012-2016, Carteret County was the only County in the Southeast to consistently list Economic Development/ Smart Growth being a top 5 priority for the County.
Leadership starts at the top and must be able to understand the core issues facing our Counties. From 2010 -2016 Carteret County saw an increase in Single Mothers living in Poverty (3.8% to 5.2%) which is greater than the NC Non-metro (i.e. rural) average. Carteret County also has many households (nearly 3.0%) receiving Cash/Public Assistance when compared to the NC non-metro average (2.0%). What I am proposing is to make key infrastructure investments, so we can reduce our populations reliance on public assistance and provide an environment which is conducive to careers, which provide benefits, and wage growth opportunities. These investments will provide a greater return than giving SNAP/Cash/Food Stamps out to families. This isn’t about giving a man a fish or teaching a man to fish, this is about making sure the pond is suitable for allowing 21 st century opportunities to prosper.
FFD: What leadership experience qualifies you to represent the people of the 13th NC House district?
BB: I have served 8 years on the Carteret County Zoning Board of Adjustments, so I have seen when regulation deters owners from utilizing their property to maximize their investments. I have served 4 years on the Carteret County Board of Education, managing policy and a $95+million budget for 1,343 employees and 8,000 students, which is one of the top performing school systems in the state.
I have worked for a division of a Fortune 500 company for the past 8 years, providing solutions and services to some of the largest companies on the planet, while also helping smaller businesses grow and compete in today’s global marketplaces. Additionally, I have served in State Legislatures, US Congress, worked on Presidential campaigns and Gubernatorial Campaigns. These accompanied with the previous mentioned experiences allows me to be a suitable and highly competitive candidate for our district.
FFD: Your campaign site is ‘Carteret Conservative’ – What makes you a conservative, and where do you stand on the political issues of the day, such as Education, 2nd Amendment, School Safety, the State’s role in economic development, taxes, spending…?
BB: Being a Conservative in Carteret County, means being fiscally and social conservative. But I would suggest being a Carteret Conservative encompasses that and so much more. Carteret County has an ingenuity and entrepreneurial spirit embedded in its values. From 1970-2016 Sole Proprietorships and Entrepreneurs increased 330%, while the NC average a 240% increase. Innovative and Constructive Conservative approaches are required for the 21st Century. Innovative Conservatives like President Lincoln and the Transcontinental railroad, President Hoover and the Radio Broadcast, President Coolidge
and the National Airwaves/Airways system, President Eisenhower and DARPA and President Reagan and allowing civilians to use GPS. These are innovative conservatives that inspire my approaches to many present-day issues. Constructive Conservatives like Dr James Martin, former NC Governor and Congressman, who saw the need to invest in infrastructure to increase commerce in Mecklenburg County as a Republican in the County Commission.
For Education, I am pro school choice, but also an avid supporter of Public Education. I would like to see North Carolina use the North Carolina Virtual Public Schools to allow the best teachers in the state to co-teach with other emerging/developing teachers throughout the state, while allowing students across the state to collaborate with each other. This will also allow teachers to surround themselves with the best teachers throughout the state on a weekly basis allowing professional development to occur organically during teaching, consistently. We should then reward those teachers who have been identified as the best.
Additionally, we need to revisit the way we are testing our students. Testing is like taking a temperature, there are many ways to do this, we need to find the least invasive and most effective way to do this borrowing from what Fortune 500 companies are doing for their learning and development.
Having served on the School Board for one of the top performing districts in the State of North Carolina, I can tell you that School Safety is of paramount importance. Our district is fortunate enough to have Resource officer’s in many of our schools, but I understand not every district enjoys those accommodations. I would suggest that at the State level, we focus on mental health and look at allowing retired volunteer military or law enforcement the option to aid in our needs, per current statute.
I am a strong supporter of the 2nd Amendment, owning multiple firearms and will ensure that any efforts to undermine or compromise the integrity of the 2nd amendment are fought without compromise.
For Economic Development, the State Tier Development Model is ineffective and most of the benefactors of this aren’t in Eastern/Rural North Carolina, where it’s needed most. I would like to see the Tier Development Model replaced or dissolved. One suggestion that I think would be beneficial is like the Texas Land Commission. Through the selling of State Bonds, and a competitive application process, aid recently retired NC Combat Veterans (Active Guard or Active Duty) to purchase land in areas of North Carolina where the Natural Change in Population shows that communities are declining. This would allow these Veteran Women and Men to enter these communities with VA lines of credit, typically up to $1 Million dollars, allowing them to start businesses and be a catalyst for growth in some of our most rural communities which are struggling with economic opportunities. Working with local Chamber of Commerce’s and local County and municipal governments could really allow for some dynamic results. The return on investment would be far greater than huge incentive packages paid to large corporations. This is constructive conservatism at its finest as I believe all sides can agree that any efforts to do more for our service women and men are a good thing.
Another key component of Economic Growth would be 21 st century infrastructure, specifically Gigabyte Fiber technology that allows technology and data jobs to materialize in areas they would not otherwise. I am only suggesting that ownership of the infrastructure occur at the State, County or Municipal level and servicing still be done by a private entity. Data jobs on average pay $120,000 a year. This type of infrastructure at the NC Port in Morehead City would serve as a catalyst for the IT sector and allowing for clean, environmentally sound revenue stream allowing for future self-sustainability.
Additionally, similar investments in Jones County or other rural farming communities allowing the “Farmer as a partner in innovation” would continue to accelerate the dominance of agriculture as it represents $84 billion in annual business. Since 2010, at least 26 Ag-Bio companies have launched in or relocated to the Tar Heel State, according to the Biotech Center.
For taxes and spending, some of the investments that I am alluding to above are eligible through Federal initiatives like the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (via US Dept of Commerce).
Additionally, with taxes and spending, we must refrain from spending more money unless its offset by cuts elsewhere to ensure that taxes aren’t increased. I would prefer the state engage in a modernization effort to understand what areas of government are redundant or duplicate efforts. Look to modernize them which will provide long term cost savings and allow us to take that savings and reinvest in other modernization efforts. Six Sigma principles that allow Businesses to flourish should be adopted in State
Government. Define the measurement goals of each area, measure these through objective performance benchmarks, analyze the data, investigate any deviations or anomalies from suitable performance benchmarks and lastly control those instances to optimize performance.
FFD: What sets you apart from the incumbent?
BB: Simply put, everything. My experience, background, subject matter expertise and ability to understand the information regarding education, economic growth and infrastructure allow me to be a multi-faceted candidate that strives to offer a measurable impact on growth and opportunity for our district and our State. By offering innovative and constructive approaches while maintaining the integrity of my conservative philosophies, allows me to differentiate myself.
FFD: Which areas of policy would you like to focus on if you’re elected to the General Assembly?
BB: Infrastructure, Economic Growth and Education as previously mentioned.
FFD: Coalition building is important to pass legislation. How do you plan on inspiring support for those policies, from leadership to the rank and file?
BB: Strategy for leading transformation efforts is probably one of the most difficult skills to maintain and refine. Basically, it involves one’s ability to influence. Knowing your audience and what their priorities are for their district and constituents. When discussing education, I know the 55 Counties whereby Education is the largest employer and the 13-15 legislators that have children or grandchildren in public education.
Regarding Economic Growth and Infrastructure understanding the value it has on all Counties that are impacted or apart of the supply chain will allow me to convey the value proposition of these initiatives to the appropriate legislators.
FFD: Finally, what thought about you would you like primary voters to carry with them into the voting booth on May 8th?
BB: My vast knowledge and experience of implementing strategic initiatives while obtaining results, working with global industries, navigating international/national/state regulations as well as managing budgets for both projects in his career and the Carteret County School Board, have provided him a unique skill-set that brings a fresh approach to our district and Eastern North Carolina. The impact on growth and opportunity that I can have for our district and the State House is offering innovative and constructive approaches while maintaining the integrity of my conservative philosophies.
Impressed? Head to Beadle’s campaign site here and make sure your Conservative friends on the Crystal Coast are aware of this promising young leader when they head to the voting booth on May 8th.