Get off sidelines for elections

Andy Yates and Todd Poole are names you’ve probably never heard. But they are great Americans and their work affects your life. They’ve both recently garnered national attention.

While this week’s political analysis should focus on a local school board that seems to value controlling hiring and personnel issues over education to national political scandals like Clinton emails that have resulted in others being charged with federal crimes for less, it is professionals like Yates and Poole who work on solutions to these issues.

Andy Yates is founder of Red Dome Group. It is a political consulting firm. He recently received the coveted Rising Star Award by Campaigns & Elections Magazine, which is the official journal for those of us who pretend to be political professionals and those like Yates and Poole who really are.

Yates lists his favorite campaign with the national journal as the 2010, 7th congressional District race, which came within six points of nearly unseating Robeson County Congressman Mike McIntyre. We were honored to work with Yates on quite a few races as we shared the mentor of Jack Hawke, who was the godfather of NC politics and another great American.

Todd Poole was a Red Dome co-founder, but went to work as the NCGOP executive director. He also made national news when resigning from that post recently. During his tenure, Poole eliminated $84,000 in state party debt and helped win back the U.S. Senate with Sen. Thom Tillis. So why are these accolades important?

President John F. Kennedy popularized the quote, “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” Being visible like Yates and Poole isn’t easy.

Apathy abounds in politics, from voting to being a candidate. Municipal races are just months away and notorious for poor turnouts. Everyone complains to friends about everything from school boards to mayoral races and presidential elections, but few vote, fewer speak up publicly or work on campaigns. Far fewer brave souls become candidates. Sometimes the wrong candidates run, but at least they run and stand up for something — even if it’s just for themselves. Political professionals may fight these opponents but at least have respect that their opponents are willing to stand up and fight. Standing up is honorable regardless of what side you’re on. What isn’t honorable is doing nothing. The point is if you want change,get involved.

As for Yates and Poole, candidates come and go. But full time political professionals are a constant. They stay in the fight year after year and aren’t getting rich doing what they do. Like those of us on either side who do it part-time, we all just want good government and are willing to fight each other for it. We agree with Kennedy that doing nothing will allow evil to triumph. The criticism that comes with the territory is more than worth the fight for liberty.

Don’t like how your city is run? You can vote in municipal races this November. Does the culture at the school board need to change? Recruit good candidates for seats. Send us their names. We are full of campaign advice. Fed up with presidential politics? Get involved with a campaign. We have their numbers.

Fear of speaking up or failure to vote could cost our children freedoms, which have been bought with the blood of patriots before us. So as we honor patriots fighting for good government, please remember this political season a quote by the Rev. Martin Luther King who said, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

Be it school boards, commissioner boards, mayoral races or the White House, these issues matter not only for us but our children. Help recruit good candidates, get involved in campaigns, then vote this election cycle.

Don’t be a bystander. Help us along with Yates and Poole in the fight for freedom.

Phillip Stephens is chairman of the Robeson County Republican Party

Phillip Stephens is chairman of the Robeson County Republican Party

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