Steven Woodsmall (D)
11th District Candidate
Event: April 6, 6:30-8:00pm, West Asheville Library
Dr. Steve Woodsmall is a retired Air Force major and currently a professor and program coordinator for the business and organizational leadership program at Brevard College in Transylvania County. He holds a PhD in Organization and Management, and a Master’s degree in Business Administration.
After leaving the Air Force, Steve worked for the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Federal Aviation Administration, a variety of corporations and community action agencies, and has served as Adjunct Faculty at several universities. He’s also taught graduate courses at the Forbes School of Business.
Woodsmall’s been active in the Transylvania community, serving as Executive Director for the VISION Transylvania leadership program and is a member of the Transylvania County Planning Board. He’s also a former NCAA women’s college basketball official and serves as referee for high school basket teams across North Carolina.
Steve and his wife have four children, six grandchildren, and live in Pisgah Forest.
When I signed up in the Air Force you had to take an oath to support and defend the Constitution. And that’s very similar to the oath that the members of Congress have to take. And a lot of them aren’t doing that. And one of my issues is this provides a series of checks and balances. But we’re not doing that. We have a Republican House and a Republican Senate and we’re not checking and balancing the Executive Branch. And that’s a problem.
Mark Meadows has been silent on everything that’s going on since Donald Trump was elected. And Martin Luther King once said silence constitutes acceptance, so he must agree with all this craziness that’s coming out of the White House.
So one of the things that I learned early in the military was, If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem. What that means is, it’s not enough for me to sit there for a year and scream at the TV every night because of what’s going on in this country. I finally got to the point where I said, You know, we have a lot of problems. We have to fix these problems. And I have to do something because I’m looking at people on the news…I’m looking at Senators holding snowballs in the Senate saying, Look it’s snow. There is no such thing as global warming.
I have a PhD in management, so I’m all about making decisions based on data and the evidence. And we’ve lost that in this country for some reason, I do not understand. But we have to get some sanity back into DC, and the bottom line is we need to make America think again.
You know, 30% are going to support the Right no matter what. I know that. But I have kids; I have grandkids, and some day they’re going to say, Back in 2018, when we had a lunatic in the White House, and nobody was doing anything about it, I just have to say that I got to do something about it. I hope I have the chance to actually do something about it.
What really lit my fire, and I have to thank Mark Meadows for this, I teach at Brevard College and they had a Chamber of Commerce event one morning and Meadows was the guest speaker. He talked for about five minutes about how great he was, and how much he’s done for the District. And then he said, I guess I have to take a few questions now.
He really doesn’t want to hear from his constituents. That’s clear because he’s never here and never does Town Halls. My wife wrote him a letter a few months ago and got a canned response that didn’t even address her concern. That kind of stuff really makes me mad.
He opened it up for questions and he got three questions. Every answer to all three questions was exactly the same: ‘We’re working really hard to find conservative solution to these problems.’
Remember the movie, ‘The Exorcist?’ That kind of stuff really makes my head go around like Linda Blair! It’s simply absurd! In science and especially in management science, it’s about finding the best solutions to problems. It’s not about Conservative. It’s not about Liberal. It’s about what are the best solutions to these problems. What makes the most sense. And we don’t do that anymore.
People are mad. And they’re going to do something about it. I think people want a change. And Mark Meadows does not represent change.
This election is not about me. It’s about winning this election. It’s about who has the best qualifications, education, experience.
It’s about getting people who want to do the right thing for the right reason and about getting American to think again.
Steven Woodsmall on the Issues
1- Preservation of American Democracy
Everyone in this race, we’re all Democrats. We’re all in the same general ballpark on the issues. But I’m the only one that has talked about money in politics. Being in management, I’m all about the root cause of problems. And to me, that is the root cause of all these problems we have. Money. It’s why we can't get better healthcare. It’s why we can’t take care of the gun problem. It’s why we can’t clean up the environment. It’s why we can’t take care of our immigration problem. And so on.
The people making those decisions are not trying to make the best decisions. They’re trying to make decisions that their big donors want them to make. If you address the money problem, you’re going to go a long way to fixing these other issues. That’s why I absolutely support House joint resolution 48, which is the ‘We the People’ proposed amendment to the Constitution to overturn Citizens United.
Corporations are not people. And that’s probably one of the worst Supreme Court decisions in my lifetime. That money equals speech, and corporations are people. We have got to fix that, first and foremost.
And along that line, we are not taking PAC money. We’re not taking Dark money. We’re not going to take large corporate donations unless we’ve first vetted the corporation to make sure they’re socially responsible. That’s the first thing we have to address to preserve our Democracy.
Next, we have to get rid of gerrymandering. That by itself is a huge threat to Democracy. We don’t have fair elections. Again, because of the money. I used to think we live in a country where the person who got the most votes won. But, it didn’t happen. We need to fix that.
Speaking of gerrymandering, the District court did declare the North Carolina congressional districts unconstitutional. They have not been changed. I doubt they will be changed in time for this election. That stay was based on an amicus brief that was filed of which Mark Meadows was a party. He was concerned about his donors. There was nothing about constitutionality. Nothing about fair elections. He was just concerned about the donors.
I have two problems with that. Number one that he really believes that. And number two that he was stupid enough to put it in writing. That’s why he’s got to go. This is a fundamental issue in this country: Fair elections. And we don’t have that because of people like him who just worry about the money.
As far as attacks on the 2016 election, we know what is going on there. Trump has been silent. Congress has been silent. Seventeen different intelligence agencies said there was meddling in the election and we do nothing. Where I come from, as a retired military officer, that’s an act of war against this country and we have yet to respond.
I’m hoping when (Special Council Robert) Mueller comes out with what he’s doing we get to the bottom of this. When it comes out it’s not going to be pretty. I hope heads roll and we can get to the rot of this problem.
Mark Meadows was asked his thoughts on the Russian investigation, and he said, “I was just back home, and those people back in my district don’t care about that.” He didn’t talk to me. Because I kinda care about it.
As far as attacks on the press are concerned, you all know about the Sinclair situation. They’re basically just a mouthpiece for the Administration. You go back to Reagan, when they basically repealed the Fairness Doctrine, where licensed stations were prohibited from airing false news items. And they changed that. And a year later Fox was born. So we have to change that. We have to get back to basic journalism. You can’t have state controlled media.
2- The Environment
This and guns are two of the issues that make me the saddest. We have people running the EPA who don’t care about the environment. We are damaging this planet, and at some point we are not going to be able to get it back.
People who said climate change is a hoax, they don’t care. Why don’t they care? It’s the money.
I’m against offshore drilling. I’m against pulling out of the Paris Accords. We’re the only country that doesn’t believe in global warming, and it’s embarrassing.
One of the things I talk about in this district—and it’s kinda taking care of two birds with one stone—is creating good paying jobs with improving the environment. We have an opportunity here with solar panels and wind power. We’re talking about a federal jobs program whereby we can employ people to work on renewable energy projects. Infrastructure projects. Roads, bridges, that sort of thing. Some of you may remember the WPA (Works Progress Administration), something along those lines.
And by the way, I live this thing. My home is 100% powered by wind power turbines, because I’m not giving Duke Energy one penny!
There is something called HR 3671, which is an act to get America off fossil fuels by 2035. That’s an aggressive timeline, but I support it. We can do it. But we have to have people in Congress with the will.
3- Gun Violence
First of all, teachers don’t need guns. Mark Meadows thinks that’s a great idea. To put guns in schools. You know, the phrase, “…the most recent school shooting…” That shouldn’t even be in the English language. And once we had one, we shouldn’t have had another one.
This has been going on for a long time, and we refuse to fix it. Why? One guess: It’s the money. I fully support reasonable gun regulation. I don’t use the term ‘gun control.’ I use the term 'reasonable gun regulation'.
You know, the 2nd Amendment talks about a regulated militia, and thee people are not regulated. Secondly, your deer rifle is not going to protect from a drone or M-16. I was in the Air Force. I know these things. If you think you’re going to protect yourself from the government, well, we have a lot better toys than you do, quite frankly.
But here’s the thing, if you go back to a Supreme Court case, Dist. of Columbia vs. Heller, Justice (Antonin) Scalia, the poster child for conservative judges and the hero of the Right, advocated for “prohibitions against the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, forbidding carrying firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, and posing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of firearms.”
The NRA is not a gun owner’s lobbying group. The NRA is a gun seller’s lobbying group. Quite frankly they like mass shootings. What happens after every mass shooting? Gun sales go up!
Kids should not have to go to school and worry about being shot.
We had a lock down last week in Brevard College. Thank God it was a false alarm. But until you know it’s a false alarm, you’re just as scared as if it were real.
So I absolutely support a ban on assault-style weapons. If you need an automatic weapon to hunt deer, you need more practice. Military assault-style weapons are designed for one thing only, and that’s to kill people.
We have to close the loopholes for guns sales. We have to ban the sale of bump stocks, where you can take a semi-automatic weapon and make it an automatic weapon.
It’s ridiculous that we don’t allow the CDC (Center for Disease Control) to do research on the effects of gun violence. We need to change that and publish their results. If you’re going to fix a problem you need to understand what the problem is.
We are not taking donations from the NRA. I got a letter from the NRA asking where I stand on all the issues. I almost pitched it. But I filled it out. I promise you every answer I gave they won’t like. They’re going to give me an “F”. I’ll campaign on that. I’ll wear that as a badge of honor.
Meadows doesn’t take a lot of money from the NRA. But they do fund the Tea Party. And if you take $1 from the NRA, that’s $1 too much.
This country was founded by Dreamers for Dreamers. And that’s partly what has made this the greatest country in the world. Now, we are deporting immigrants who served in the military.
These kids who came here when they were two years old, haven’t done anything wrong, have gotten an education, have become productive citizens, they got jobs. Why would you want to send them back to where they came from when they’ve been productive citizens? We send them back to their country of origin…they can’t even speak the language. Where is the Christian belief about taking care of one another in that policy? There is none.
Border Security: I can think of plenty of other things to do with $20 billion than build a wall. VA health, infrastructure, fund Planned Parenthood. For starters. So for me, that’s a non-starter. Sure we need border security. But not with a $20 billion wall that you can climb over with a $20 ladder. We have technology. We have infrared. We have drones. We have Border Patrol.
As for restrictions based on country of origin, that might make some sense if we’re identifying those countries for the right reasons. Like Russia. Like Syria. However, we can’t do it just based on religion. We can’t do it because they’re Muslims, and all Muslims are terrorists.
As for deploying National Guards to the border…No. I’m old enough to remember Kent State. No. We have Border Patrol. We have ICE. But the National Guard I overkill. That’s just part of Trump’s marketing approach.
We need Medicare for All. We need a single-payer system. I had a [single-payer] system when I was in the military. It works. We’re really just about the only developed country that doesn’t do that.
Sometimes they have issues. Long waits. Heck, we have waits. I have a wait right now to work on my knee. And that can be worked around.
And again, why don’t we have that? Money. And for the same reason drugs. You could get a drug in Canada that costs about $700 here but you can’t do that. And why? Everyone say it with me: the money.
I support the legalization of marijuana. And not just medical marijuana. That will create jobs, and taxes.
No one in the United States of America should have to make a choice of paying for his or her heart medicine or going to the grocery store. You shouldn’t have to do that. Health care is a right.
Remember when they repealed the ACA (Affordable Care Act)? Before it got to the Senate. The House passed it and they’re standing in the Rose Garden. Mark Meadows is right there. They’re all hi-fivin’ each other. They’re celebrating, “Hey, we took people’s healthcare away. Way to go guys.” That one thing alone should disqualify him from serving in Congress, as far as I’m concerned.
As for women’s healthcare, I support a woman’s right to choose, period. Period! It’s not my business. It’s your decision. It’s not up to me. It’s not up to Congress.
I know, some will say, ‘Oh, you’re a baby killer'. No. I’m not pro-abortion. I’m pro-choice. Let’s also talk about what we can do to prevent those pregnancies. Why don’t we fund Planned Parenthood? Why don’t we provide education? Why don’t we talk about what we’re going to do with those babies that are not wanted and are in the foster care system and get them in a good place and into a foster home somewhere.
Some people say abortion is wrong. Yet they don’t want to fund agencies, like Planned Parenthood, that work to help young women who don’t want to get pregnant and might have to turn to abortion. It makes no sense to me.
Regarding lobbyists working against this, I go back to the money. If you address the money issue, then the lobbyist issue goes away. Then you have to address these problems on their merits.
By the way, I’m toying with an idea of forcing every member of Congress to wear a suit like the Nascar drivers. You know, with a little decals all over listing every group that has contributed to them. They’d have patches that said Koch Bros., Exxon, everyone who has sent them money so we’d know who was paying them.
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