At First in Freedom Daily we like to champion those liberty minded candidates that stand on a bedrock of conservative principles. It is rare when a candidate comes along that is 100 percent committed to those principles, can articulate them with absolute conviction, and at the same time bring energy and youth to state government.
That rarity exists, though, int he form of Patrick Petsche, candidate for N.C. House District 44, as he takes on longtime incumbent Democrat Rep. Billy Richardson.
First in Freedom Daily sat down with Petsche, after he spoke to Duke University’s chapter of Young Americans for Liberty, to learn more about his story, his values, and his vision for representing the people of the 44th House District.
“I have always known the ideology of liberty,” says Petsche, a young, ambitious, and intelligent champion of the philosophy of Freedom as understood by our Founding Fathers.
Petsche lost his father when he was only 16 years old, forcing him to grow up quickly and contributing to one of the focuses of his campaign.
“I was born in Cleveland and my father was a retired police officer. He died when I was 16 years old. His job, ironically, was undercover narcotics, and he experimented with cocaine right after he retired. He died, even a year after stopping cocaine. It had hardened his arteries and he had a heart attack – sad story. Between that time period of a year, he couldn’t find a job because it was on his record. A good man, what anybody in society would call a good citizen, an upstanding citizen, a heroic citizen – he had acts of valor during his time as a police officer – made a mistake and he couldn’t find a job regardless of his impeccable resume.”
Criminal justice reform is a top issue for Petsche, referring to it as one of the biggest civil rights issues of our time, after seeing that many people in his district suffer the same barriers to productive achievement that his father did.
After losing his father, Petsche’s mother was diagnosed with Hepatitis C, forcing Petsche to more or less fend for himself as a young man with enormous responsibilities.
“So I was the man of the house. I had to do everything and I grew up faster than I had to. I was forced on to Medicaid; I inherited by dad’s social security; food stamps. There was no income coming in, my mom was disabled, still is, couldn’t work.[…] So I know what it’s like to be in the welfare system and to pull yourself out of it through hard work and perseverance. My record shows that and proves that. I know what it’s like to open up the fridge and see literally no food; to go days without eating. We had a sheriff knocking on our door kicking us out because we couldn’t make the mortgage payments.
A little bit of ambition goes a long way in this world. If one person has the motivation to do it, they can absolutely do it, especially in this state.”
Petsche remained focus on making a success of himself, studying hard embarking on an education that requires as much smarts as it does a sense of adventure.
“I started taking flight lessons when I was twelve in St. Pauls, North Carolina. We started on a grass strip – an awesome place to take flight lessons. I then eventually took flying lessons at Lumberton municipal airport and I did my first solo when I was 16. I actually got my student pilot’s license before my driver’s license. So I was always interested i aviation and aerospace and considering that Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University seemed like a great place for me to be and it was.”
Flying four to five times a day, with classes on top, Petsche went on to major in space flight operations with a minor in human factors engineering, interested in being part of the future of flight. While at school, though, he was on the receiving end of political bias in education, and industry.
He wrote a thesis on how private space companies can be independent, generate independent revenue, and not rely on government contracts. This was taboo in a field that is ostensibly dependent on government contracts. Even today’s most popular space flight company, Elon Musk’s SpaceX, lives and dies by its ability to secure government contracts.
“Just because of my political belief that these private space companies can propel themselves and deliver more jobs in more areas and space exploration would be a lot better off and advance more quickly than the government doing it via contracts.[…] I used principles of Austrian economic thought in the thesis as well, and it wasn’t taken lightly. It was published and some people in the industry saw it and didn’t like it. So, I had to find other avenues in work.”
While Petsche still does regulatory compliance consulting work for clients, his passion and primary occupation is of a more ground level variety.
“I started a horse therapy program at my university. It originally started out to help out fellow students who were suffering from depression, anxiety, homesickness – anything. If they needed help, bring them out to the farm and help with a horse. It’s like Winston Churchill once said, “There’s something good about the outside of a horse; it’s good for the inside of a man.” That’s absolutely true. A horse is a majestic creature that pairs human emotions.”
The horse therapy program grew and grew, extending therapy services to veterans and people with terminal illnesses, and eventually to high school students in the Fayetteville area.
“I brought that program to Fayetteville where I’m helping mostly high school students now. Mostly those with borderline personality disorders, ADD, things like that. It keeps them occupied too. It keeps them off the streets, and with horses you have to be consistent. You have to show up everyday and work. It gives them self-esteem.”
All along, Petsche maintained a heady interest in the ideas of liberty. He worked on Ron Paul’s campaigns in 2007-2008, and served as Florida director for Rand Paul’s presidential campaign. Extremely well-read, Petsche thinks that North Carolina, in particular, is ripe for a Liberty movement that captures the attention of younger generations and holds true to the American ideals that older generations have watched slip away.
He wants to inject youth and vigor behind those principles in the N.C. General Assembly, for the benefit of all those in his diverse district.
“I’m going to knock on every door. I plan on representing the 44th district for everyone. I’m not going to Raleigh just to whip votes for Republicans, and if Republicans are expecting me to do that, they don’t understand a free-thinking individual liberty philosophy.
My incumbent opponent Bill Richardson, he hasn’t done anything for [this] community. In fact, he’s more interested in making sure the state has a statewide fried chicken festival than he is in helping veterans.”
Veterans, and military affairs are huge in a district that features Ft. Bragg, one of the largest military installations in the world.
“I don’t compromise on my principles. I lay my principles out to all the voters, if they like them they’ll vote for me. If they like my voting record, or if they don’t in two years they can vote me out, but I am going to run my campaign on principle and I am going to represent everyone in the 44th District.”
When such intransigence is on behalf of the constitution and conservative principles, voters and constituents win every time. Republican majorities on Jones Street, even among their many successes, have had a problem of furthering business as usual practices, occupying the untenable political center, and stifling the voices of truly conservative members.
Many of those voices have left the chamber, whether due to redistricting games, family concerns, or growing tired of constantly being shut out by leadership.
This is where Petsche believes his youth and vigor can make a difference.
“I would rather lose on a principled campaign than win sacrificing my principles to too many RINOS. […] I truly believe that even if you have just one principled person, with a loud enough voice it can turn into a majority. With the liberty people in the General Assembly, if we get together and find coalitions, even with Democrats, we can pass liberty-minded agendas. But you have to start with the people, and educating the people and get them to pressure the General Assembly.
We may have to pressure Republicans and say, ‘This is not conservative. This is not aligned with the constitution and the Bill of Rights,’ and I think if we can make that clear, if we’re loud enough, we can have a great caucus in North Carolina. […] North Carolina probably has the greatest potential out of any other state to lead in the liberty movement, I keep saying that. North Carolina has everything – nearly every industry you can think of is here; we have beaches; we have mountains; great companies and universities; and all can be used as examples of how to make things better through the principles of liberty.”
But make no mistake, electing Petsche would out in the House a Republican that minces no words when rhetorically slaying the Democrats and the Left.
“Democrats controlled the state legislature for over 100 years before 2011 – what have they done for the African-American community besides segregation, besides Jim Crow, and entrapping them in a welfare system that’s keeping them from getting a job?
I’ve seen these communities. Western Fayetteville is highly African-American. These people do want to work. It’s not that their lazy […] a lot of them have criminal records that will keep them from getting a job. That’s why I’m also a fan of expungement clinics, to expunge their records so they can actually get a job.”
And his views on Gov. Roy Cooper’s latest slush fund scandal, and Cooper’s affinity for taking the legislature to court over every little thing, are like music to the ears of constitutionally-minded conservatives.
“As a strict Constitutionalist who believes in the separation of powers – and the North Carolina lists separation of powers very distinctly – the legislative branch is the branch that designates and directs funds, it has the power of the purse, not the executive. To me that’s an impeachable offense. The constitution is the supreme law of the land. I would go further than bribery charges; he is in direct violation of his oath to protect and defend the constitution of both the United States and the State of North Carolina. So, if I were in the General Assembly, I would move toward impeachment.
I’ve never met a Liberal that is more interested in lawsuits – he sues over everything. Instead of working with the Republican General Assembly, he’s simply suing them to get his way. He’s not going through the process of coalition making, compromising or even talking with the other side.”
We need to use the art of persuasion, not lawsuits and giving the executive more power. The executives in the country already have too much power. […]This is a direct attack on the principles of separation of powers and the constitution.”
Action. Vigor. Youth.
How nice would it be to have a politician dedicated to liberty and the constitution that enshrines it, unafraid to take the fight to Democrats and RINOS, leading the charge for conservatives in the N.C. House with an energy and all encompassing freedom philosophy that could light a fire under Jones Street pols as well as ignite passion among an apathetic youth yearning for more relatable liberty leaders in state government?
If there is going to be an honest to goodness liberty movement in North Carolina, it will be furthered by candidates like Patrick Petsche, and he should get his start as a representative of N.C. House District 44.
Visit his campaign site and support a liberty candidate in North Carolina.