By Rob Spahr, NJ.com
on January 05, 2013
RED BANK – Pat Noble is not your average teenager.
The 19-year-old Red Bank resident dedicates most of his time to either working full time as a clerk in a Little Silver pharmacy or with a political organization he helped found.
He speaks passionately about issues ranging from foreign policy and education to taxation and evolution.
He was on the ballot for a seat on the Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders in 2011 and on Wednesday he officially became a member of the Red Bank Regional High School Board of Education, after defeating incumbent Nilsa Samol in November’s election.
Oh, by the way, he’s also a proud socialist.
Noble, a graduate of the Monmouth County vocational school The Academy of Allied Health & Science in Neptune, first became interested in socialism while in high school and hearing Democrats and Republicans use the term “socialist” to attack each other.
“I decided to do some research into what the problem was with it and I never found it. The rest is pretty much history,” said Noble, who summed up the socialist philosophy as “a society built for the majority instead of the elite minority.”
“I think people who are dead set against the idea of socialism have false logic,” he said. “But I think that if most people have an opportunity to really hear what it’s about, that they’ll agree with it or at least walk away with a real understanding of it.”
In March 2011, Noble helped co-found the Socialist Party of Monmouth and Ocean Counties. And then he spent the better part of the last two years campaigning, first for Freeholder then for Board of Education.
“You reach more people, more quickly when you win an election,” said Noble, whose father, Peter, is a member of the Board of Education for the Red Bank Borough Public Schools. “People would rather hear from a candidate than some guy on a street corner, especially on socialism when a majority of them are capitalists.”
Now, Noble said he plans to stand up for his socialist beliefs as a member of the Red Bank Regional school board.
“I’m hoping to bring a different perspective, a left-wing perspective to a board full of capitalists,” he said. “I have a different view point, both as a younger person and a Socialist, that I think could have a positive impact in and of itself.”
Noble campaigned on a laundry list of issues that he would support, such as school sex education courses including lessons on LGBT lifestyles.
But Noble said some of the top issues he will be concerned with as a board of education member will be budget related, such as opposing merit pay for faculty members and fighting harder against budget cuts.
“I’m not saying that there aren’t some areas of the budget that can’t be tweaked,” he said. “But far too often they are cutting school budgets at will, which forces the schools to make rampant cuts to programs and staffing. I think there should be more backlash and more fighting back.”
Noble said he would also fight to get military recruitment and other military-related activities banned from school grounds.
“I’m antiwar, absolutely,” he said. “And I’m against poaching high school kids and sending them to the front lines of a war they have nothing to do with, they didn’t start and will not benefit from.”
Even though Noble acknowledged that he was an outsider – in terms of both age and political views – he said his fellow Board of Education members gave him a warm welcome when he was sworn in last week.
“This is something I wanted to do, because it’s something I’m passionate about,” he said “And I hope to use my different perspective to help make some improvements.”