Mebane resident Ed Priola is announcing his plans to run as a Republican for one of the three seats on Alamance County’s board of commissioners that will be up for grabs in 2024.
A long-time advocate of conservative causes, who traces his political involvement back to Ronald Reagan’s victorious Presidential campaign in 1980, Priola made his own debut as a candidate last year when he ran for the legislative seat which represents North Carolina’s 63rd house district.
Priola’s bid for this seat ultimately ended in the Republican primary, where he finished 155 votes behind current state representative Steve Ross — who went on to oust the Democratic incumbent Ricky Hurtado in last year’s general election. But far from being discouraged by his primary loss, Priola sees his hair’s-breath defeat as an incentive to throw his hat back into the ring – this time as a candidate for the county’s governing board.
Priola insists that, should he prevail in his campaign for the board of commissioners, he would uphold the same conservative values that had driven his bid for the General Assembly.
“It’s still about freedom!” the would-be county commissioner declares. “We need to have solid conservatives at every level to create a government that respects freedom, transparency, and accountability.”
Priola adds that his priorities if elected to the board of commissioners will be to fight for lower taxes, “make education world class,” strike a balance between new development and quality of life, support law enforcement, and ensure that the county government is accountable and transparent.
A resident of Mebane since 2019, Priola had a rather peripatetic life before he and his wife Larisa decided to settle down in Alamance County’s easternmost municipality.
A self-described “military brat,” the future candidate spent his formative years in a state of near-perpetual motion, as his father, a non-commissioned officer in the U.S. Air Force, was assigned to places as far removed as San Antonio, Texas and Naples, Italy. After a high school wrestling injury dashed his own hopes for a military career, Priola turned his attention to politics, cutting his teeth as a field representative for Reagan in Iowa and as an advance representative in New England.
In 1982, he obtained a B.A. in political science from the State University of New York before he served as a deputy clerk for the county legislature in Ulster County, New York. A decade later, Priola became involved in grassroots organizing – initially in the capacity of the national field director for a group advocating term limits and, later, in a comparable post with the National Taxpayers Union.
During the early 2000s, Priola embarked on a three-month stint to Romania that evolved into a four-and-a-half-year endeavor to promulgate democratic values in this former Soviet satellite. During this time, Priola founded a nonprofit group that promotes legislation favorable to free enterprise and democratic ideals. He also met his future wife, who accompanied him back to the U.S. when his European adventure concluded.
Once he was back stateside, Priola obtained a master’s degree in organizational communication from Bowie State University in 2007 and, in 2016, he earned a PhD in management from Maryland University College. Priola has also taught college-level communications courses since 2010 – sharing his knowledge with everyone from high school students enrolled at Durham Tech and undergrads at Campbell University to online correspondents at the University of Maryland’s Global Campus and inmates at Sampson Correctional Institution. Priola has even taught children in Alamance County’s own public schools.
“Since last fall, I’ve worked as a substitute teacher for the Alamance-Burlington school system,” he elaborates, “and one of my goals in running for the Alamance County board of commissioners is to make education in Alamance County world-class. Our kids deserve nothing less.”
In addition to local school children, Priola insists that his vision for Alamance County would benefit a wide range of other residents in the community he has come to call home.
“I have ‘walked the walk’ in fighting for lower taxes, improving training and education, and holding government officials accountable,” he says. “I love Alamance County and am deeply committed to doing my part to make it even better.”