Ed Priola is the proud son of Robert, a 27-year veteran of the U.S. Air Force, and Mary, a registered nurse. His brother Ron was a military police officer, while his sister Sherry became a nurse practitioner. It’s not surprising that Ed gained deep respect for the heroes of our armed forces, the brave police officers who keep our communities safe, and the courageous healthcare teams who struggle to keep us well.

Early on, Robert and Mary guided Ed toward faith in God and service to others. They led the way by dedicating their own lives to service. They also continuously underscored the value of unconditional family support and lifelong learning. So, while working full-time as a dishwasher, a waiter, and a restaurant manager, Ed earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Years later, with the loving support of his wife Larisa, and while teaching full time, he earned a doctor of management degree.

Ed has dedicated his life to advancing freedom. He “walked the walk” by spending years working in formerly socialist countries, like Afghanistan, Romania, and Albania, to teach people about self-governance and free enterprise. While there, he saw first-hand the brutal legacy of socialist tyranny. He swore to stop socialism from taking root in America. After returning to the United States, Ed continued to struggle for freedom as the Public Affairs Director of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation. In that role, he reminded Americans about the crimes of socialism and the deceit of socialist propaganda.

Ed’s experiences shaped his commitment to help elect conservative candidates who believe in American exceptionalism. Last year, he trained hundreds of Republican candidates running for office across North Carolina. He was never more gratified than when he shared stories about his work as a young representative for Ronald Reagan’s presidential campaign. Now, as a college professor, Ed continues to promote freedom and common sense American values with his students.