06/12/17 — Party leaders look ahead to 2018: Republicans

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Party leaders look ahead to 2018: Republicans

By Steve Herring
Published in News on June 12, 2017 7:08 AM

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Wade Latham, Wayne County Republican Party chair, said he grew tired of yelling at the TV. So he decided to put his passion for politics to use at the local level.

"I got tired of yelling at the television," Wade Latham says of his decision to become involved in local politics.

"Instead of just sitting here getting mad and watching my blood pressure rise, why don't you get involved," Latham said he told himself. "You can do that."

So he started showing up at Wayne County Republican Party meetings. In January he was approached by some of the "elder statesmen" in the party about running for chairman.

At age 60 and retired, Latham said he had the time to serve and agreed to run for the office and was elected.

"I want to get involved and work to get stuff done," he said. "That is why I did it. I was very honored to be elected."

And now he is working to spread the word about the GOP's values and goals -- particularly among the black and Hispanic populations that don't normally vote Republican.

The party is preparing as well for the 2018 elections by getting the vote out, getting precincts covered and getting people involved, he said.

"I have felt like, and it is no slight on anybody that was here before me, but things had got of gotten into a status quo," he said. "I wanted to re-energize what was going on and get more people involved. I want to talk with the Hispanic community and the black community and just ask them, 'I understand you generally vote Democrat.'

"'I'd like to know why you do that. Why you wouldn't vote Republican.' Then I will approach them from the biblical aspect as to why maybe they ought to think about changing things up a little bit -- make them realize that Republicans really aren't the evil people they have been told we are."

Republicans firmly believe that everyone has the right to "enrich" themselves, to do good for themselves, to work hard and achieve what they want in life, he said.

Latham said that in his opinion the Democratic Party is "kind of attached" to government welfare programs.

"As a result there are people that have potential that aren't reaching their potential is the way I to look at it like," Latham said. "They are stuck in the status quo of being helped by the government instead of helping themselves.

"I'd like to show people you can do so much better if you help yourself. I am a self-made person. Nobody ever gave me anything. I worked for it. I worked hard for it in school. Obviously I worked pretty hard at the Air Force Academy to get out of there, and I had what I consider a very successful career in the Air Force."

Latham said he has been mulling over how he can connect with the black and Hispanic populations.

Latham said he plans to attend Goldsboro City Council and Wayne County commissioners meetings.

He said he would also like to work with the Wayne County Board of Education whose members are mostly Republican.

Latham said that he wants to work with that board to help show the black community it is not being forgotten.

He said he wants to show that Goldsboro High School is not being forgotten either and that "we want to make it better so that your kids can be better."

"Talk to them," he said. "I think a big problem in our country overall is the lack of a solid foundation home base. I'd really like to work with people. A good home base foundation is a great starting point for kids wanting to better in school and to want to better themselves. Everybody needs to work on that.

"I am going to tell them that the Republican Party has a chance to show them that maybe, like I said, relying on government subsistence is the not the best way to go."

Helping people has been forced and not willingly given, he said.

It used to be the churches helped the people who needed help, Latham said. They still do, but they have been limited now, he said.

"There are a lot of things churches used to do that they are not allowed to do anymore," he said. "As a result the government has taken over that and to me it's forced help because they are taking people's taxes and giving it to people instead of people donating it freely.

"I love giving money to needy causes. Me and my wife we give a lot of money out because we think it s the right thing to do. It is the Christian thing to do in my book."

Latham said he thinks churches have been set aside in "this freely giving atmosphere" and the forced giving that the government does.

Latham said he especially wanted to talk to youths about the future.

Currently there is a "big push" in college by the millennials and others who talk about wanting free stuff, he said.

People can get free stuff now, but they are "mortgaging" their future because it is not free, Latham said.

It will eventually have to be paid for, he said.

The hardest thing to do right now is to get the economy "smoking again" so the jobs are there so that college graduates can get a good job, can start at a fairly early age working hard for themselves and making something out of themselves, he said.

"Right now, kids don't see that future like I think they should," he said.

Latham said he supports policies of less government and lower corporate tax rates.

The U.S. corporate tax rate is the highest in the world, Latham said.

It needs to be reduced so that corporations can free up money to do infrastructure, research and development and increase jobs and productivity, he said.

Capitalism and free enterprise are the way to go, he said.

Another goal is to increase party membership, particularly younger members Latham said.

There are more registered Democrats than Republicans in Wayne County, but Latham said they are the "old southern Democrats" who dot not identify with the more liberal, progressive part of the Democratic Party.

Many of them have probably not voted a Democratic ticket in 20 years, he said.

Latham said he would like to be able to convince them it is time to switch voter registration.

Latham is a 1979 graduate of the Air Force Academy and is a retired fighter pilot. He also few for Jet Blue airlines.

Latham and his wife, Sheila, a native of the Goldsboro area, have six children together from previous marriages.

They have six grandchildren.