Kidwell takes stage

Published 7:29 pm Thursday, February 16, 2012

Is third candidate in race for District 5 seat

Proctor Kidwell is the third candidate to say he wants to be the next occupant of the District 5 seat on the Beaufort County Board of Education.

Kidwell, a Washington-area resident, signed paperwork making his candidacy official this week.

The other two office-seekers to confirm their interest in the seat are longtime incumbent Mac Hodges and challenger David Daniel.

Neither Hodges nor Daniel had filed his candidacy paperwork as of Thursday afternoon.

The filing period for North Carolina’s elective offices began Monday and will end Feb. 29.

Kidwell is the owner of H&R Block franchises in Martin, Hertford and Edgecombe counties, reads a news release from his campaign.

In an interview, the novice campaigner said he’d draw on his business background, if elected.

“I was looking at the school, I was looking at the finances, I was looking at the county, and I saw there were some problems,” he said when asked why he decided to run. “And I figured I could help with those problems.”

One problem Beaufort County Schools has is “way too much vacant space” in its buildings, he said.

“We have about 2,200 extra seats in there,” Kidwell said. “That’s a lot of money we’re spending and nothing in return.”

Members of the Beaufort County Board of Education are “supposed to go in there and make sure that they’re not underspending or overspending,” he continued, emphasizing his desired role as a watchdog.

“It’s the taxpayers’ money,” Kidwell added, “which is one place I enjoy being, and that’s on the opposite side of the government as far as taxpayers’ money’s concerned.”

This is Kidwell’s first run for public office.

“I strongly favor an emphasis on the basics,” he said in his news release. “We need to focus on reading, writing and math in the early grades particularly. I also believe we need to strengthen our current programs for our best and brightest students to (ensure) they are prepared to further their education.”

The release goes on to note his involvement in the Beaufort County Committee on Constitutional Studies and his “passion about teaching the Founding Principles of this great nation to every student.”

“While I realize a local school board member cannot do much directly about the state educational system, I am interested in seeing that system improved,” he wrote. “It looks to me like a great deal of the money we’ve added to education in recent years has not gone directly to the classroom and that needs to be changed. The teacher is the most important part of the system.”

Kidwell resides with his wife, Lisa. The couple has three sons, “all of whom attended Beaufort County Schools,” the release points out.