Discussing Politics with Joe Harding

GenZ Conservative said it best: "If there’s one thing we young conservatives need to learn to do, it’s to support up and coming politicians with talent and conservative values. While we might not have the financial resources necessary to support them through donations, we do have the time and energy to support them in other ways." Since my last interview with Gavin Rollins, I have been actively searching for another interview, so here it is! Joe Harding is a businessman running for State Representative, District 22. Like his page on Facebook! 
https://www.facebook.com/HardingforHouse/. He asked I share his newsletter, so click the image above! 

1. "Tell me about yourself."
"The first thing is I'm not a politician I've never run for office. I never thought I would run for office. My background is construction manager. I've managed projects that total $400 million dollars within the state, as well as employed thousands of employees and hundreds of subcontractors. That's something I believe will work in my favor in office. As conservatives, we should push back against what the Left pushes. Instead of 'free college,' conservatives should talk about preparing students for the workforce. They need to be taught skills in order to go out and earn money. We need to better them within our education system. I have a blue-collar construction background. I think we need people who represent us should be in our legislation."
2. "What issues plague District 22, in your opinion? What are you going to do about it, if elected?"
"One of the most critical issues in this district, which no one talks about, is that the average household income a year is significantly less than the state's household income average. The average household (between two people living together) is $34,000 in Levy county and $38,000 in Marion county. What's happening is that Levy county has all its schools on a 3-meal plan, which comes out of our tax dollars. Marion county has a significant percentage of schools on meal plans as well. Parts of Levy and Marion are so impoverished, you'd think it’s a third world country. What's important to me is we need to provide better vocational training to students, because that's the answer to this issue. Agriculture is a large part of Levy; blue-collar jobs are a large part for Marion. Our students should learn these important skills because that's where our niche is. Vocational programs need better funding from the state, so students have the same opportunity to either do dual enrollment or take vocational classes. Teachers and principals encourage college on students to receive incentives, but there needs to be equal incentives for vocational education as well. In Florida, 63% of high school graduates will attend college, so almost 40% of students won't go to college (not including dropouts). They have not been taught skills to contribute to society. We need to do more. The other issue is agriculture. Levy is in the top 5 for agriculture in Florida, despite being a rural county. Marion has one of the largest cattle growers in the state. As Florida grows, we need to focus on our conservation efforts. Because of Covid, agriculture was hit hard, as green spaces are important. Our local economy is heavily dependent on agriculture.”
3. "I understand that you are against sanctuary cities and illegal immigration. Could you explain why you're against this, and also explain what you'll do to fight against sanctuary cities and illegal immigration?"
"Trump says it best when he says, 'America first.' Being in agriculture and construction, I can safely say our economy doesn't go without immigrant workers. The problem is if you allow illegal immigrants to pour into the country and don't contribute to America, then it hurts those who follow the rules. Illegal immigrants who send their kids to school use our taxpaying dollars for their child’s education. If we don't have a process, then these people will only get our money and hurt those following the rules. I want them to come here the right way and contribute to our country. The Left wants to remove voter ID, which can lead to illegal votes. I’ll fight against that. I'm all for work visas to help get the economy going if there is a shortage of American workers. But with what Covid did to the economy, we can’t let illegal immigrants take those jobs from hardworking Americans. With sanctuary cities, Gov. Desantis banned them. But liberal, out-of-control cities, like Gainesville, are defying logic and reason. State government needs to hold local government accountable. These bans wouldn't be needed if local government followed the law. The law is if you're here illegally, you get deported, especially if a crime is committed. Why is our money keeping them in jail? What I want to do is prevent ID cards getting to illegal immigrants, to me that's a path to allow them to vote, we ‘can’t’ deport them because we ‘need them.’ We have to ban sanctuary cities, and we need to hold government accountable to the law.”
4. "Do you support buying American-made products only?"
"Absolutely. That's something I've been pushing in my campaign. We have too much dependence on foreign aid and foreign manufacturing. My hope is that people wake up to the fact China will be our downfall if we continue to depend on them. I hope to bring jobs back to America. We need to reduce our dependency. There are times we need trade, but there should be more emphasis help our American workers. In Florida, we're the largest beef producer in the US, yet we import 15% of our beef from Mexico. That makes no sense. Why are we importing produce from South America, when in this area alone, we are the largest producer in watermelon, peanuts, oranges? There's been an outcry to start supporting local farmers, instead of importing, because of Covid. We've got to speak up about this, and to do that, state government needs to loosen regulations."
5. "As a businessman, you probably know the government has no role in business. Do you agree with this statement and why?"
"Government is inherently bad at everything it does. The less government, the better. If you look at how government impacts a certain issue (i.e. healthcare, business licensing, regulations), almost anytime government steps in, they make it worse. Bureaucracy creates complacency. I agree with your statement. I believe in private sectors. Free market works. The government can take forever with decisions, whereas free market gives you the freedom to do what you want. There’s competition in free markets."
6. "Why do you support President Trump?"
"I support him for a variety of reasons. He approaches things from a business perspective. That's something missing in government. Most politicians play it safe. He doesn't have a bureaucratic take in politics, but a business perspective. Second, Trump doesn't need politics. He can do whatever he wants. This is not a job to him. I can't stand people who only get into politics to get paid, get free healthcare, or looking for fame. Third, his unrelentless push for his values. There's no doubt that we haven't had someone as bullish as Trump in the history of our country. He doesn't care who's against him, he will fight for his beliefs. That persistence for the truth is what makes him really effective of what he does."
7. "Why did you decide to run for office?"
"The deciding factor was from the 2018 election. Seeing how the state is divided and how close we almost elected a self-described socialist, Andrew Gillum, it just woke me up. As a 7th generation Floridian, seeing the state I love dearly so under attack scared me. Florida is growing quickly but again, look at who we almost elected. We really dodged a bullet with Gillum. We need new conservative voices in the state, and I believe in the House and legislator is a great place for me to have a voice on different issues, like what the role of government is in our lives or if you want to take responsibility for your life." (Joe and I discussed how Desantis is doing a good job compared to Cuomo. "There's a reason why red states are doing better than blue states," Joe says.)
8. "Why should people vote for you?"
"They should vote for whoever aligns with their values, and I believe my core values align with the people in this district. It's where I was born and raised. I understand our economy, community, and the growth occurring. No one is going to work harder. I'll be raising my kids, working in my business, so anything I do will impact me personally. I think people who have the most skin in the game is the best person. The person you vote for will impact my kids, my community, and anyone else involved. Also, I'm not running to get a job. This campaign has cost me a lot of money. I’m running for a position that’ll pay $29,000. But I know there's too much at stake, so we need people who will step up to help future generations. It shouldn't be out of convenience to run. We need people who will stand for their convictions and values."
9. "Since you have no prior experience in politics, has that worked against you?"
"That's a good question. It comes up more than you think. Having no political experience, I think this is the greatest advantage I have. You meet with business and community leaders, and I can relate with them on certain issues because I am going through them as well. The relatable factor you have with people is invaluable. Trump changed the narrative that you don't need political experience to be a good politician. Trump is doing a great job as a non-political person. People will think ‘This guy’s running for State Representative, imagine what he could do!' I've met many others who work in business, and when they see I know business-related topics, they're impressed. Because of my real-world experience, not political experience, I'm more relatable to people. That's the biggest strength I have."
10. "What advice do you have for young conservatives who are thinking of becoming involved in politics?"
"Do it. Young conservatives aren't a minority like the Left wants us to think. We are more the silent majority of young people, especially the millennial generation. We're the largest age demographic. Being involved in political events, I've had a lot of young people tell me how inspired they are to see a young person like me running for office. If a young person wants to be involved in politics, speak up and don't be afraid. And I don't just mean post on social media. Find candidates that you align with and get involved in their campaign. My campaign is wide open for volunteers. Anyone who wants to get involved, contact me. This allows you to get involved with a candidate you believe in and also gives you a voice. The people in my campaign, I want to hear their ideas. I have my core values that drive me. After that, I'm open to different perspectives. Speak up, get involved, don't just hide behind a computer screen. Our country is at stake. If we don't take a stand, we'll lose because we stood by and did nothing. This district I'm running for is mostly elderly people. Many assume they want someone who's got more experience, but many have spoken to me about how they like seeing younger candidates running. These are people who lived through the hardest times in our country's past. They're happy to see people like myself running to take care of the country. Go out and get involved in the community, a campaign, or organization."

Thank you to Joe Harding for doing this interview! Comment down your thoughts of this interview!!

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