This is the eighth in a series of profiles on the 2014 U.S. Senate Candidates on View from the Hill. Links to previous profiles are at the end of this post.
When Alex Bradshaw moved to North Carolina in 1995, he didn’t know he would be beginning his political career less than 20 years later.
A researcher and open source developer in Hickory, Bradshaw entered the Senate race because he felt none of the candidates represented his views, particularly on intellectual property laws, which he believes need radical reforms.
“Back in 2012 when there was a seat coming up for grabs, I asked the candidates what their positions were on intellectual property,” he said. “Even with eight to 10 candidates running, none represented my views exactly.”
This year, Bradshaw said once again, none of the candidates shared his views.
“In order to have these issues injected into the debate, I had to run this time around,” he said. “I couldn’t just put it off for another cycle.”
Bradshaw said he feels like the Republican Party is in a crisis at the moment, as the traditional GOP and the Tea Party trying to figure out which direction the party needs to go.
“I think both are heading in the wrong direction and in order to aid the Republican Party I need to offer my own perspective on things,” he said.
Bradshaw thinks the Republican Party has been wrong to fixate on the Affordable Care Act and that the party should be figuring out health care alternatives, instead.
Bradshaw believes America’s health care system combines elements of “capitalism, socialism, and a medieval guild system,” and that the United States needs to identify areas in the health care system where free market principles can afford to cut costs.
Bradshaw’s economic values reside with the “pro-market” ideals rather than pro-business. He said the pro-business model is problematic because profits become privatized while losses are socialized. Bradshaw wants to see a shift back from putting big businesses ahead of new entrepreneurs, shifting the debate away from cutting income tax to cutting payroll taxes.
As a former substitute teacher in North Carolina, Bradshaw also thinks there is room for improvement in education.
“I want to build up the K-12 education system because we should be encouraging innovation,” he said.
Bradshaw also thinks that No Child Left Behind has been a failure with too many teachers now being forced to “teach to the test.” Bradshaw thinks there should be some classroom and schoolwide benchmarks, but that they should be wary of making tests a priority.
Bradshaw said schools should be looking at reforms and new ideas, but should not be committed to a particular all-encompassing program. Because no two schools or school systems are the same, Bradshaw said it is important for them to experiment with what is best for each individual school rather than deciding a best course of action for all of them.
“We do benefit from having a diversity of approaches,” he said. “Not every student learns the same thing.”
For higher education, Bradshaw thinks that student loans and the increase in their interest rates needs to be kept down.
“I think tuition is rising faster and the more higher-ed gets subsidized, the more pressure there is to keep costs down,” he said. “But costs keep going up, student debt is really high and more government subsidies won’t help.”
As one of 13 candidates in the race for the Senate, Bradshaw faces significant challenges in his campaign for the seat.
A latecomer in the Senate race with an unusual platform and no political background, Bradshaw runs the risk of falling under the radar among the crowded field of candidates. And as of April 8 with only 5 percent of the vote, it looks like Bradshaw might already have done so.
Read the other Senate profiles by clicking on the buttons below! And be sure to check out the voter's guide for information on Orange County candidates. Early voting ends May 3, and the primary election is May 6.
View from the Hill is a political blog by Daily Tar Heel staff writers. Any opinion expressed in it does not represent the Daily Tar Heel. Email the blog coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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