The Class of 2013 – Rep. Dennis Riddell

The Class of 2013 – Rep. Dennis Riddell


Reporter’s note: State Rep. Dennis Riddell declined to be interviewed for this profile, and hung up on a reporter who called his home seeking an interview earlier this year. Answers are taken from public statements Riddell has made, as well as his campaign website and other sources.

Name: state Rep. Dennis Riddell, Republican

Occupation: Retired as a marine engineer with the U.S. Merchant Marines and now owns a thermography company. His ethics statement show he received income from Freedom IR, the thermal imaging company he owns; Matson Navigation Company, an international shipping company, MEBA Vacation Plan, a naval insurance company and rental income.

Lives in: Snow Camp (Alamance County)

Family: wife Polly Jo and seven children, ages 26 to 10. Their son Dustin died in 2005, according to Riddell’s campaign website.

Hobbies: woodworking and woodcarving; fly fishing; playing the guitar and dulcimer; Civil War reenactments and reading about U.S. history. (Source: campaign website).

Previous elected offices, if any: None.

Why’d you run for office? From campaign website: “I want my children, and yours, to grow up with the same freedom and opportunities that previous generations of Americans have enjoyed. To help preserve our freedom and opportunities we must continue the common sense conservative reforms begun in Raleigh during the most recent Republican-led legislative sessions.”

What are the major challenges this year?

Economy, jobs and education reform. (Burlington Times-News article, Jan. 3). “I will work to improve our state economy by opposing job-killing tax increases,” Riddell writes on his campaign website.

What is one specific issue that you think needs addressing?

Riddell speaks often about family values, and supported both the marriage amendment from last May that banned same-sex partnerships, and is pro-life. (Source: campaign website.)

How do you feel about these issues?

  • Voter ID? In favor of it. (campaign website)
  • Medicaid expansion? Voted for the legislation that shut North Carolina out of expanding Medicaid and has been critical of Obamacare and the Affordable Care Act.
  • Tax reform? From his campaign website: “Alamance County taxpayers deserve a strong voice in Raleigh to protect their hard earned money. This is not the time to be taking more money out of the lean wallets of Alamance County taxpayers.”

What label fits Riddell’s politics?

Conservative. Riddell favors “limited constitutional government,” according to his campaign website.

Riddell’s Christian faith also appears to inform his political beliefs. From a statement he made on his campaign website following the November election: “We want to thank the Lord for this victory in our year long job interview with the voters of NC House District 64 here in Alamance County…. We hope you can share in the joy of a good night for North Carolina despite the national trend away from common sense and a secure financial future for our children.”

An unusual fact about Riddell: Riddell and several of his children play musical instruments and involved in equestrian sports, as witnessed in this You Tube video he posted about his family.

Contact information: (919) 733-5905, legislative office in Raleigh; [email protected]

About the author

Sarah Ovaska-Few, former Investigative Reporter for N.C. Policy Watch for five years, conducted investigations and watchdog reports into issues of statewide importance. Ovaska-Few was also staff writer and reporter for six years with the News & Observer in Raleigh, where she reported on governmental, legal, political and criminal justice issues.