Letter: Honesty should be table stakes in congressional race

Graphic by Lori Deaton

My little family of four just recently settled in the Hendersonville area. Hubby and I both work remotely and travel often, but we justify the long, chaotic Monday-Friday for weekends hiking the Pisgah, raising kids in a charming small town and soaking up the beauty of Western North Carolina. We weren’t planning to get involved with local politics, but with so many factors deteriorating our safety, health care, education and environment, we can’t afford not to.

I’ve been following the District 11 Congressional race closely; it’s our district. It’s a race to unseat incumbent Mark Meadows, which is an absolute necessity for the health of our community. My eyes have been glued to the Democratic primary featuring Mr. [Phillip] Price, Mr. [Steve] Woodsmall and Dr. [Scott] Donaldson.

After attending a slew of candidate forums/debates and hearing each one articulate their platform in similar and different ways, there is something that has really been bothering me. I feel the need to bring it up. It’s Woodsmall. He’s not being honest.

He touts his carbon footprint. I’ve heard him say he’s 100 percent wind-powered, off the grid and doesn’t give a dime to Duke Power. Other times, he backpedals and negates those claims. His home shows no evidence of wind power, and he’s admitted to buying credits from a third party. That doesn’t make you wind-powered. And your money still lands with Duke Power.

He also mentions his Air Force career. He retired as a major and he claims to have commanded military bases. But he’s given no details when asked to elaborate. He changes the subject to how angry and fed up he is without taking the time to answer questions that would validate his claims.

Why am I the first to question his honesty?

The reality is, I began following this race because of my passion for sensible gun laws to protect my children, my opinion on single-payer health care, my love for the environment and desire to protect it. But what I learned is a disappointing reality that, not only do we have to evaluate candidates on their opinions about the issues we care about, we have to evaluate their honesty. Honesty in speaking about themselves and not just telling us exactly what we want to hear. Honesty in making realistic promises to the citizens of WNC. And honesty in representing us in Washington. So, if Woodsmall can’t tell a clear, transparent and consistent story in the District 11 primary, how will he ever survive the general against Meadows? And if by chance he does, do we really want him representing us anyway?

— Kaycee Kalpin

Editor’s note: Xpress contacted Woodsmall’s campaign with a summary of the letter writer’s points and received the following response: “Replacing Mark Meadows is the most important objective. He’s wrong for Western North Carolina. Wrong for America. But beating him will not be easy. You must decide which candidate can attract the most Democratic, unaffiliated, conservative and moderate votes to get that job done.

So let me quickly dismiss the concerns mentioned so all three of us can return to what’s most important: helping you decide who’s most qualified to take the fight to Mr. Meadows.

• I’m a Ph.D. professor with a degree from an accredited university online. (Ask and you can read my leadership dissertation!) This is an example why I want high-speed internet throughout District 11, so everyone can use this modern communication medium.
• Your home can be powered with renewable energy from Arcadia Power, too. Just select “100 percent wind power.” It’s a little more expensive, but I see that as an investment in our environment.
• I enlisted in the U.S. Air Force in 1975 and retired in 1994 at the rank of major. I’ve held five separate command positions and was recognized as Company Grade Officer of the Year, Maxwell Air Force Base; and Outstanding Airman of the Year, Scott Air Force Base.
• I’ve held positions at the Securities and Exchange Commission, FAA, several corporate management positions and a community action agency; served as adjunct faculty at several universities; and taught graduate courses at Forbes School of Business.

You can learn more about me at woodsmallforcongress2018.org. But my  platform includes universal health care, “green” jobs, reasonable gun regulations, safer schools, education, a living wage and protecting our beautiful WNC natural resources. We’re working hard to spread that message before the May 8 primary. Then, first thing May 9, we’re “back in the office” for the most important District 11 goal: retiring Mark Meadows this November.”


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9 thoughts on “Letter: Honesty should be table stakes in congressional race

  1. Enlightened Enigma

    I hate to disappoint these guys, BUT, with Mr. Meadows at the top of the US House leadership, doubtful he will be replaced. He truly is a real LEADER.

    • luther blissett

      “with Mr. Meadows at the top of the US House leadership”

      Mark Meadows has neither a US House leadership position nor a House committee chair. Being the titular head of the “Freedom” “Caucus” means nothing. He leads nothing. He brings nothing to his district.

  2. Stan Hawkins

    So, your questions about politicians seems to get at the heart of a few age old questions about politicians.

    1. Is it better to choose someone who tells you what you want to hear, but not necessarily perform to those same standards?

    2. Should we pay more attention to what actions politicians have actually taken as opposed to what they say?

    How many people do you know that strive to make ends meet and carve out a living wage, are willing to say that they will pay a higher price for energy to an external source while saying they are “ off the grid?”

    That seems just a bit out of touch with reality for District 11? This is also why we need an “objective” media that is willing to hold all accountable, and ask the important follow up questions of politician statements rather than just give a “wink and nod.”

  3. John Padgett

    ​The writer of this letter asks why is she the first to question Steve Woodsmall’s honesty. The answer may be that he IS honest.

    Full disclosure: I am a colleague of his at Brevard College, and I have known him ever since he started as an assistant professor in the business program three years ago. During all that time, I have never known him to be anything but forthright, earnest in his beliefs, and HONEST.

    I am not alone in saying that: I daresay most of his colleagues and students, regardless of their political leanings, would agree that Woodsmall’s honesty has never been in doubt. (Indeed, some might even say he has a tendency at times to be a little bit TOO honest, if you know what I mean.)

    I find it incredible that some people have apparently been stalking his home in search of windmills in a futile, misguided, and utterly ignorant attempt to try to prove he lacks personal commitment to renewable energy. Here is a news flash to anyone who doesn’t get it: electric power can be generated at so-called “wind farms” and “solar farms” and then delivered to homes via these things called “wires.” (As one of our students here put it: I get my power from a hydroelectric plant, but that doesn’t mean there is a dam in my backyard.) ​

    Similarly, I thought trying to impugn veterans for their military service went away after the “swiftboating” of John Kerry in 2004. What exactly does the letter writer doubt about Steve’s military service? That he served in command positions? Or that he served in the Air Force at all? Steve’s military career bears mention, but maybe the reason he doesn’t dwell on it is that he has done so much more since retiring from the Air Force more than two decades ago.

    I do agree with the letter writer that honesty is an important quality in candidates running for office, and letters like this demonstrate both a kind of desperation and a lack of honesty by Woodsmall’s opponents and their campaign cronies. For that reason, Steve is getting my vote in the District 11 primary.

  4. Lulz

    LOL leftist claim to want common sense gun control. In reality and to their admittance finally though, they are now talking confiscation. Real honesty brought to you by liars.

  5. Stephen Advokat

    As a volunteer for Dr. Steve Woodsmall, candidate for U.S. House, Dist. 11 in Tuesday’s primary, I’ve had the opportunity to hear Scott Donaldson’s stump speech many times. And like Dr. Woodsmall, Dr. Donaldson speaks eloquently about the need for universal healthcare in WNC. Indeed, it’s his flagship issue.

    All the more confounding then, that Dr. Donaldson’s never joined Healthcare-for-All WNC, local chapter of Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP.org), which started around January. We could certainly use a passionate voice like Dr. Donaldson’s. I wonder why he’s never joined? ~S. Advokat, Asheville

  6. Tothedogs

    You kind of blew your point by saying you travel often. Flying, if that’s how you travel, is the most carbon intensive activity there is. And you’re worried about green energy? If you drive, hopefully it’s an electric car, or bicycle. Meanwhile Mark Meadows is laughing.

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