Carolina Journal News Reports
RALEIGH — Like his hero, Texas U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, Glen Bradley has created quite a stir in the Republican Party. In his freshman term in the North Carolina House in 2011, he proposed controversial concepts like returning to gold and silver currency, exempting the state from several federal laws, and legalizing raw milk.
And that’s exactly why Chad Barefoot says he’s running against him in the Republican primary race for North Carolina Senate District 18.
Barefoot, formerly a policy advisor to House Majority Leader Paul “Skip” Stam, R-Wake, says he disagrees with Bradley’s priorities. “Jobs, jobs, jobs” are what voters care most about, Barefoot said, and he intends to give them what they want.
Meanwhile, a third primary candidate — Michael Schriver — thinks his resume as a former Marine, police officer, and educator makes him best qualified for the job.
“Rep. Bradley is a nice guy,” Barefoot said in an interview with Carolina Journal. “I just don’t agree with his priorities.”
Barefoot’s priorities are tax reform, regulatory reform, and education reform, he said.
“I think when you talk to Glen you’ll find those aren’t his top three issues,” Barefoot said. “He’s going to talk about the constitution and things like that, which is fine … we just have different priorities.”
“The things I see him advocating for have to do a lot with people’s personal liberties, but very little to do with fixing the unemployment rate, getting people back to work, and lowering our taxes,” he continued.
While Bradley admits restoring the constitution and individual liberties are his top priorities, he argues that the tasks are “part and parcel” of creating a prosperous economy.
“If we were to restore the constitution and individual liberties, the unemployment problem would go away,” he said.
His Constitutional Tender Act, which would have forced North Carolina to recognize gold and silver as legal currency, would have done wonders for the economy, Bradley said. Utah passed a similar bill, and its unemployment rate “dropped like a stone,” he said.
Bradley also introduced several bills motivated by the 10th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution — the Farmers Freedom Protection Act, the Firearms Freedom Act, and the Intrastate Commerce Act — that attempted to exempt food, guns, and other goods produced, sold, and kept within North Carolina’s borders from federal regulation. These, he argued, would have created a much freer market and “all manner of jobs.”
While Barefoot says he helped work on a 10th Amendment-type of bill, which would have added North Carolina to a list of states suing the federal government over the federal health care reforms also known as ObamaCare, he says voters “aren’t sending me down to the General Assembly to nullify all of the federal laws we don’t like.”
“Nullification is a strategy that usually doesn’t get you any closer to your goal,” he added. “It’s a waste of time.”
Bradley said while he knew most of his bills were not going to pass, “someone had to start the debate.” And a debate is exactly what he started. While fellow lawmakers laughed and a News & Observer editorial made him sound crazy, Bradley says his bill legalizing gold and silver currency made him the first North Carolina state lawmaker ever to appear on a national news network.
But Bradley hasn’t spent all his time making statements. He said he spent the majority of his term writing a “very practical” jobs bill.
“Even though [the leadership] wouldn’t allow my bill [House Bill 587] to be heard, they liked it so much they put almost the exact text — like 95 percent of it — into Senate Bill 781 [the regulatory reform bill that eventually became law],” Bradley said.
“I’m not saying his priorities are wrong,” Barefoot said. “I just think my priorities will appeal to voters more.”
Schriver said his top priorities are “fighting for jobs and removing restrictive regulations.”
He said he’d also like to “get rid of wasteful spending,” but wouldn’t identify any specific government programs he thought could be cut.
“I’m not targeting programs because I think there are so many behind-the-scenes things that can be done from a general administration point of view,” Schriver said. “Because as a business owner I don’t want to reduce the level of services I offer, because when I reduce levels of service, I reduce the ability to generate revenue.”
Best man for the job
While Schriver had nothing bad to say about his opponents, they had a few words about him.
“Shriver has no government experience,” Barefoot said. “I haven’t heard him talk about an issue yet.”
Schriver is “a good guy,” Bradley said. “But he’s going to be a lot more likely to go along to get along.”
He’s also more likely to support expanding the state’s police powers, he said.
A former police officer, Schriver opposed Bradley’s bill to prohibit unwarranted police checkpoints. Bradley said Schriver probably would have voted in favor of bills giving police permission to take suspected felon’s DNA upon arrest and giving sheriffs “unfettered access” to citizens’ prescription drug records.
“I’m not going to get into pointing fingers in a primary or why I’m better than the other opponent,” Schriver said. “I will leave that to voters and them looking at my resume and my life.”
Schriver’s resume includes serving as a Marine and working as a police officer and an educator. He’s now a general contractor who owns his own small construction company. He noted he’s the only candidate who’s signed the front and back of a paycheck.
“The bottom line is I want to listen,” he said. “I want voters to share their concerns with me so I can take those concerns to Raleigh.”
Bradley also is a former Marine and seminary student. He said he would be the best candidate because he has “a proven record of doing exactly what I said I would do.”
“I got jobs growth legislation passed into law, and I stood up and defended the constitution against my own party,” he said.
Barefoot said both Bradley and Schriver are “nice guys with good intentions, but North Carolina has really big problems … and my experience as a policy advisor to the House Republican leader has put me in a position to be able to help offer solutions.”
“I’ve worked with the Republicans to balance the budget, to lower the sales tax, to pass regulatory reform, to pass worker’s compensation reform. I was there when they did that. I know what it takes to do that.”
It’s Barefoot’s position as a policy advisor that concerns Bradley.
“Skip Stam is probably one of the most anti-gun Republicans in the House,” he said.
Grassroots North Carolina, a conservative gun-rights group, labeled Stam one the top three “weasels” of the North Carolina House. “Everything that Skip Stam has done in the last four years policy-wise has been advised by Chad Barefoot,” Bradley said.
In the meantime, Barefoot supporters have criticized Bradley for his opposition to the proposed amendment to the North Carolina constitution that defines marriage as between one man and one woman.
Bradley said he would have supported the amendment, had the General Assembly included his proposed language that “marriage belongs exclusively to God and the state is prohibited from licensing it.”
Besides being uncomfortable with the state taking the role of defining marriage, Bradley said he had a technical concern about the proposed amendment. Because it also bans civil unions, “it falls out from behind the cover of the Federal Defense of Marriage Act and opens it to attack in the courts,” he said.
Whichever candidate wins the primary May 8 will run against Democratic incumbent Doug Berger in November. Berger, who previously served the Democrat-leaning Senate District 7, now finds his home redrawn into the newly Republican-leaning District 18, which now includes a portion of Wake County — Garner and Fuquay-Varina — and all of Franklin County.
Schriver lost narrowly to Berger in 2010, when their homes sat in District 7, when it was still an uphill battle for Republicans there.
Bradley won in House District 49 in 2010, even though the district leaned strongly in the Democrats’ favor. Because he was “double bunked” with fellow Republican Rep. Jeff Collins of Nash County, Bradley said he felt he had no choice but to run for Senate rather than seek re-election to the House.
Sara Burrows is an associate editor of Carolina Journal.