Podcast with Pat Bradford – candidate for New Hanover County Board of Education. We talk about a wide range of issues including Critical Race Theory and the idea that she and her fellow Republican are too extreme to lead in education.
Find out more about Pat Bradford at https://www.electpatbradford.com/
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Reuel Sample: This NHC GOP podcast is sponsored by Wendell August Forge. Crafted by American artisans in America for nearly a century, Wendell August Gifts are unique symbols of the stories, traditions and milestones that bind us together. Christmas is coming up, so this is a perfect time to get holiday ornaments. Right now buy three ornaments and get the fourth free. Use the code. STOCKUP when you check out. Find out more about Wendell August Forge and WendellAugust.com. Forged with care. Given with love. Wendell August Forge.
Reuel Sample: Good evening and welcome to the NHC GOP podcast. I’m Reuel Sample joined by Pat Bradford, candidate for Board of Education here in New Hanover County. Good evening, Pat. How are you tonight?
Pat Bradford: Good evening. I am excellent. I’ve been out at the polls most of the day and I’m encouraged, excited and glad to be with you.
Reuel Sample: You have not just been out of the polls most of today. You have been out there the whole time. And so I appreciate you taking the time after a very long day to come and talk to us. What are you hearing from parents and from voters as you talk to them at the polls and elsewhere? What is the major thing on parents minds right now?
Critical Race Theory
Pat Bradford: Well, I’m telling you. They’re very excited to be voting. They’re believing that change is here and a lot of them. It’s it’s. I just got to say it. A lot of them from young to old to well dressed to not. They’ll lean in and they’ll say, You’re going to do something about this CRT, right? I’m serious. They do. And they whisper it because know there’s so many opposition people out at the polls. And I say, yeah, I am. You know, it’s that simple. Yes. I’m going to take care.
Reuel Sample: Let’s talk about that CRT critical race theory. The answer on the left is that’s not being taught in our schools. That is a graduate level legal course. But that’s not true, is it?
Pat Bradford: These people over here say, yes, it is happening. So what’s true? I’m going to get to the bottom of it, I promise you.
Reuel Sample: It’s all about a narrative that wants to separate us from a very young age to by race. And that’s a terrible thing.
Pat Bradford: Yeah. There’s no place in school for oppressed versus oppressor. Division, hate. There’s just no place in it for school. It’s just. It’s not what school is supposed to be about. And we’ll get to the bottom of it. I promise we will. This nothing to see here. Move along. I don’t buy it. I don’t buy.
Reuel Sample: That’s not that’s not to say that you’re going to take out all the bad things in American history.
Pat Bradford: No, no. You learn from your mistakes. You learn from the bad things that happen, and hopefully you never repeat those mistakes again. That’s the point of learning history, because it has a way of walking back around. So you want to learn.
Reuel Sample: Yeah. What other things are parents talking to you about as you’re out there?
Teachers Don’t Like What They Are Teaching
Pat Bradford: There’s a lot of teachers that come by and they’ll lean in and I’ll say, you know, I’m teaching at the school or I just stopped teaching at this school or I’m a former teacher. And their narrative is 100% the same. 100%. They don’t like the things that they’re teaching. They don’t like all the forms and the data mining that’s being done on students. They don’t like how they’re not valued. Of course, the teacher’s assistants and the rest of the people, they don’t like the pay. I don’t think I’ve had any teachers complain about the pay, but just the working conditions. And you’ll ask them if you talk to them long enough, you’ll lean in and say, you know, what do you think about the central office? And they’ll make comments. What do you think about the superintendent? Those comments are all across the board. So it’s it’s encouraging that they’re talking because we’re going to need a lot of that. We’re going to need to hear from everybody. When we have new board members. We’re going to need to hear from them. We’re going to have to get rid of the retaliation part. And I’m not sure how we do that. It’s not a magic bullet. But we’ve got to we’ve got to we’ve got to let people know that it’s okay to come and tell us what’s happening so that we can take care of it.
Reuel Sample: You are a numbers person. You’re a business owner. And so business owners, by by definition, have to be aware of the numbers. You’ve looked at the numbers of the school board and you’ve you’ve talked over and over again about how we need to increase the pay that we give to not just teachers, but to the entire system. Why is that so important?
Pay and Finances
Pat Bradford: Well, now, as you talk about this all the time. Remember, our teachers are the highest paid teachers in the state, depending on what day it is, because we vie with Wake County. We vie with Mecklenburg County, Raleigh and Charlotte for that bragging, right. It’s not done because we love teachers, though. It’s because we want the business bragging, right, to attract industry and business to North Carolina. So for whatever reason they’re doing it, I’m really grateful. The teachers are well paid. They’re never paid enough because the job there should be hazard pay for teachers. But the board ordered a salary study. We, the taxpayers, paid for a salary study, and then they ignored the recommendation of the salary study. They chose in favor to continue to fund the EDI department. Most people don’t realize the first budget that the superintendent and Ashley Sutton who is in charge of finance – they brought to the board had a discontinuation of the EDI position and a funding of the teachers assistants, the bus drivers and the cafeteria workers to the recommendation was either $17 an hour, plus some bumps or $16 an hour and a couple of extra bumps. So it all kind of evened out. And if I’m not mistaken, the first recommendation was 17, but it could have been 16. But it was more than it is now. And they ended up getting a $1 an hour raise. Now, if you’d work for the school district as a teacher for 27 years, I mean, teacher’s assistant, you got a dollar an hour raise. Personally, I don’t have any people working for me, and I never have that would be willing to work that long without getting, you know, cost of living and everything else.
Pat Bradford: So more power to them that they can keep. Think about this. Teacher’s assistants are working for less than what a Domino’s worker gets or somebody working. You can because I’ve checked. You can get. Assistant managers positions at McDonald’s for more than we’re paying our teachers assistants and our bus drivers and our cafeteria workers. Now you wonder why we have this transportation problem going on right now. The buses are not running and everyone’s all in a snarl because they don’t have enough bus drivers because they won’t pay them enough to get them and retain them. Somebody has a commercial driver’s license. They’re in great demand. They’re not going to stay with the school system. They can get another job, not for what they’re paying them. So it’s really bad as the morale. Now you can have super awesome morale and possibly get away with paying employees less. But when you don’t pay them well and the morale is crushing you, it’s a recipe for disaster. We’ve lost a lot of teachers, and I have to admit, Dr. Foust has been able to hire quite a few new teachers. They’re all coming out of Wake and Guilford and Mecklenburg. So they’re going to be probably just a little more liberal than the ones coming out of say, Well, I don’t know. North Wilkesboro. I don’t know where to go to find teachers right now, but he’s done a good job of bringing in teachers. And that’s that’s a challenging thing.
Reuel Sample: There’s a lot of people from outside of New Hanover County pouring a lot of money into opposing you and your other opponent, your other Republicans on the ticket. What are some of the biggest lies that you are seeing being being sent out about you?
The Biggest Lies From Democrats
Pat Bradford: Well, I had a call today. From a woman. From the northern part of the county, and she was older than me. And she said, Are you Pat Bradford? And I said, Yes, ma’am, I am. And she said, Well, I got this piece of mail. And it said that you were a radical. Are you a radical? I’m serious. And I was like, No, ma’am, I’m not. No. You know, and you can joke about it and you can say, Yeah, I’m radical for changing the school system. Yeah, I’m radical about Jesus. Yeah, but it’s not really funny. But they’re saying that the four of us are radicals. So basically what they’re doing – is what they’re doing. They’re throwing it on to us, putting it on a postcard, and they’ve mailed it to everybody. And they’ve got YouTube ads. I hear I don’t I don’t have ads on my YouTube, but I’m hearing about it. And you know, what can you say? I mean, it’s flattering. Maybe. I don’t know. I just don’t know. I’ve had a lot of calls from people who are pretty upset about it. And, you know.
Reuel Sample: Anybody who knows you would say you’re not a radical, you’re not an extremist. So let’s answer some of let’s answer some of their lies. Are you in favor of book burning?
Pat Bradford: No, absolutely not. I make my living in words. I want people to read. I have a novel with 100,000 words I’ve written. I want people to read. I just don’t want books that are explicitly sexual. In our schools for our children to read. I see no purpose for a book like that to be in our schools. In fact, we have a Pender County teacher who just got arrested for pornography materials, and I read about him and the books that are in our schools would get you arrested if you had them. You can’t read from the books in a public meeting or on the radio because the FCC would shut you down for speaking obscenity. And yet it’s okay to have these books in our schools for young children to read. No, absolutely not. It’s gotten me so upset. We’re out at the Northeast Library today. That’s where you can find me if you want to see me. And I see all these parents with women, with little children and strollers and they’re going into the library. And I’m thinking, oh, are they having a child story hour? So I asked one of the parents, I said, Are you coming for the child story hour? And she said, Yes. So then I thought, oh my gosh, what if it’s a you know, what if it’s a sexually explicit book? Or what if it’s, you know, people dressed up and some of the stuff that’s going on, You know, what? If it’s a drag queen and these are tiny little people, some in arms, you know, And I just fretted over it.
Pat Bradford: So I sent somebody in to find out what it was. And one of the first book was I Kissed a Duck. And I’m thinking, you know, there was there was a time when a book named I Kissed a Duck. You didn’t ever worry about it, but now you’re like, wait a minute, this ducks, you know, because some of these books have innocuous names that you think children are going to really enjoy. And remember, the book I took from the library checked it out. It was geared for 4 to 8 year olds and it had explicit, graphic sex. And it was an older sister explaining to her younger brother in graphic detail about sex. And it had images and even had a teddy bear by the beside the head of the people depicted having sex that does not belong in our libraries for children. It doesn’t belong in our schools for children. And they’re all interconnected with the inner library exchanges that we have now.
Reuel Sample: Do you hate? Gays, lesbians, transgendered people. Do you absolutely hate them?
Pat Bradford: No. And you can ask my friends that identify that way. I don’t hate them. I love them. They love me.
Reuel Sample: Are you going to make everybody do what you believe? Are you going to say that you’ve got to do this, this, this and this or else you’re out? Are you that close minded?
Pat Bradford: No, I’m not. I’m pretty open minded, surprisingly, in a lot of ways, because I’m a good boss. I like to listen to people. I like to hear everyone’s opinion. That’s what I love about being out there right now is because you can just talk to so many people in one day and it’s it’s great. They come up and they’re they’re shy and they want to meet you or they’ve seen you and or they know you. It’s just I love it. I really do enjoy this. This is part of the whole thing. Maybe not the hours.
Reuel Sample: So these these folks are spending a great deal of money and putting out some some big movies and ads and they’re lying to to you.
Pat Bradford: Big movies, I haven’t seen those. I hope. I don’t know.
Reuel Sample: They’re they’re coming to a theater near you. There it sits. But they’re lying. They’re lying.
Pat Bradford: And yeah.
Reuel Sample: And there’s no there’s no nicer way to put it is that they are using fear tactics and everything else to lie about you.
Pat Bradford: You know, this is a really challenging time to see exactly what kind of character you have, because people are throwing rocks at you and you’ve got to turn sideways and let that rock go on by. But every now and then one of them will land, or every now and then you’re just not as much like Jesus did you want to be? That happened to me a couple of days ago, and this woman was yelling just very close to me and she was yelling towards the voters as they were coming in an effort to influence them, not to vote for me or the other conservative candidates. And then she started to to try and talk to me. And I just didn’t want to I was not I did not have my love on and I just didn’t want to talk. And and she kept doing it and she kept lying. And so finally I just turned and I said, you know, I’m believe in truth. And what you’re doing is lying. And that’s not a way to get someone to vote for a candidate that you prefer to lie to them. Why don’t you just tell the truth? Some teachers prefer the candidates that you’re pushing, but other teachers prefer me. And the problem is, I didn’t say it didn’t love, so I had to work on myself that night. So it’s a really good time to just be like the duck and let it just roll right on you. I mean, the school board is going to be just as bad. It is. Our country is divided, our county is divided, and somehow we have got to find a middle ground. We’ve got to find truth. Because when you expose truth, no one can argue with it enough to find a middle ground and come together because it’s all about the children. And if we stop making it all about ourselves and make it about the children, we can come together.
Reuel Sample: Well, I’m going to ask you one final question, and it is about you. So you’ve been talking to people for months now about how you are the best candidate. Years now as far as how you are the best candidate. And if there’s one thing that you want them to hear as they go into the polling booth to put a checkmark box next to your name, why should they? Why? Why? Why are you the best candidate for this position?
Pat Bradford: I don’t normally work in best candidate. That’s not part of my language. But here’s the thing. 17 years ago. I stood in a New Hanover County courtroom and I raised my right hand and I swore to protect children. I was sworn in as a guardian ad litem, which means I was a child with sworn as a child advocate. And the court determined that I was a good choice to stand up and be a voice for children when they needed help. And to this day, I take that oath seriously. I am determined. I am so glad that I’m doing this. I was a little reluctant to heed the call in the beginning because I knew how hard it was going to be. But I am so glad that I’m in it because we’re at the we’re at the 11th hour here. We’re in our Alamo kind of moment in North Carolina, in New Hanover County. We are. We have got to turn this thing around. And if I have to go out there and lead that charge, it’s okay with me because it’s worth it. We’re doing it for our children, our greatest resource, our precious little children. And they’re being harmed. They’re not being educated. They’re being just. They’re destroying our children’s education. We’re going to lose an entire generation if we’re not careful. We’ve got to hold the line. We’ve got to turn this thing around. And I take that oath I swore 17 years ago. I take it as seriously today as as seriously today as I did back then. It’s all about the children for me. It really is. I’m not making that up.
Reuel Sample: Pat Bradford, You’re going to find her at the polling booths. She circles them all. And and you’ll you’ll see here throughout the next couple of weeks, we have about 12 days to go. At the time of the recording of this podcast. Pat Bradford, how can they get in touch with you?
Pat Bradford: Well, you can come out to the polls. My primary polling place is the North-East Library. A lot of people come to see me there and if you go, go to the red tent and say, Hey, is Pat Bradford here. When was the last time you saw her? But I do make my rounds. I do hit the five early voting sites. Now, when we get to Election Day, you’re not going to find me at all of them. Maybe just a handful of them. But other than that, I’ve got a really good website. What is – ElectPatBradford.com? My phone numbers everywhere like the lady today. You know this lady today? You know how she found me. She called the Northeast Library and she asked them if they could find a phone number for me. And they did. I promise you my phone number is out there. You can just Google me and you’ll find my phone number. I love people, so I hope they’ll call. I hope they’ll come and see me.
Reuel Sample: Pat Bradford for New Hanover County Board of Education. Thanks so very much for being here. All the best.
Pat Bradford: Good night.