Bob Cavanaugh is one of two Republicans running against Walter B Jones in the May 4 primary for the U. S. House seat in North Carolina’s Third District.  I recently interviewed Bob.

Tell us a little about yourself: I was born and raised in New Jersey and joined the US Marine Corps soon after graduating from high school.  Enlisting as a Private, I worked my way up the ranks, earning eleven promotions in 21 years and retired with the rank of Captain in 1988.  My specialty field was Aircraft Electronics, more generally called Avionics.  I served in Vietnam in 1969 and have a Top Secret clearance.

Though high paying consultant jobs were available to me after retiring from service, I chose a much less stressful and more creative career as owner of a small landscaping company in Carteret County. also became interested in a diet called Calorie Restriction or CR
which purported to retard the rate of aging in animals.  After a few years, I became Managing Director of the CR Society International, a 501(3)(c) non-profit organization and a member of its Board of Directors.   I have since spoken at research conferences in the US and
Japan and work with news and entertainment media in promoting CR such as Oprah, 60 Minutes, Discovery Channel, ABC, NBC News, etc.

After my daughter graduated UNC Chapel Hill and was later married in 1999, I scaled my landscaping business down to spend more time continuing my work as an unpaid volunteer for the non-profit organization.  My daughter has two children and lives with her husband
in Raleigh.  My wife Linda and I have been married for 25 years and we live near Newport in Carteret County.

I became active in the Tea Party movement in 2009 and soon became Chairman of our local Morehead Tea Party.  We have over 1400 members now.  Our April 15 rally last year drew over 1500 attendees. We chartered 5 bus loads of protesters to march on Washington last September.  I am a past member of the Newport, NC Planning Board and also a founder of the Carteret County Young Republicans Club (1980).

Why did you decide to run for Congress? Quite frankly, I simply got fed up with the Federal government and decided to take action.  I did not feel I was being adequately represented in Congress and learned that almost everyone I knew felt the same way.  I became involved with our local Morehead Tea Party and stepped into a leadership role when the Chairman asked to be relieved for family reasons.  During the 912 March On The Capitol, I was inspired by the “Throw the bums out!” sentiment and the thought occurred to me that we seldom consider our own “bum”; it’s always the other person’s “bum” we want thrown out.  This caused me to take a much closer look at my current Congressman Walter B Jones and determined that it was time for him to go home.  The list of issues I disagree with him on goes  back through his 8 terms in Congress, but here are some of the more recent on my list:

  • He has gone soft on the War on Terror, demanding President Bush apologize to Congress and, more recently, he joined with four other House Republicans and 60 Democrats on March 5th in voting to pull out U.S. forces from Afghanistan.
  • He broke his 1994 Term Limits pledge.
  • He is among only two Republican Congressmen to receive donations from Rep. Charles Rangel over the years.  [Research done by ToD reveals that Congressman Jones took $1000 from  Rangel’s National Leadership PAC in 1998. – CORRECTION 3/30/2010:  Walter ]ones did not receive any funds from Rangel’s National Leadership PAC.  The recipient of $1000 in 1998 was Ben Jones of Georgia.  The website recorded the incorrect name.  The name on the FEC filing is Jones for Congress]
  • He was among only 5 other Republicans who joined the Democrats in defeating the GOP’s efforts to force Rangel out of his chairmanship on the Ways  Means Committee.
  • He supports legislation to limit campaign contributions thus benefiting the incumbent
  • He voted against authorizing the President to establish military commissions to try detained enemy combatants  (H.R. 6166 and S. 3960)

What solutions would you offer to help bring down the cost of health care? I favor legislation such as the Patient’s Choice Act (HR 2520)  The Senate bill is S.1099 on which Senator Burr is cosponsor.  A summary can be found here.

One key provision I especially like is greater emphasis on disease prevention.  From my work in the CR Society, I know that age related diseases such as heart disease, cancer, hypertension and diabetes can be prevented by proper nutrition and calorie control as well as regular exercise if followed over the course of adult life.  The lab-animal evidence is overwhelming and recent human studies conducted at the University of Washington in St Louis, MO are equally compelling.  These diseases kill about 75% of the people in westernized societies and account for the preponderance of health care costs.

Our school systems should provide much more education about diet and exercise as they relate to degenerative diseases.  This is a long term solution to drastic reductions in health care costs.  It also places emphasis on personal responsibility and self sufficiency for your own health.  Short term solutions are also addressed in The Patient’s Choice Act insofar as shopping insurance across State lines, tax credits for health insurance costs, tort reform, Medicare fraud and abuse prevention, etc, etc.  My protection is the governments responsibility; my health and how I choose to pay for medical care is my responsibility.

What solutions would you offer with regard to the problem of illegal immigration? Illegal immigration is a hot topic issue for many citizens and is a problem that has not been addressed since President Ronald Regan granted amnesty for 4 million illegal aliens in November 1986. Current figures place the number of illegal aliens in the US between 12 and 20 million.  From my travels around North Carolina, I would almost believe that there are 12 million in our State alone.  It is unlikely that US citizens would support the formation of a Gestapo type police force to hunt illegals down in their homes or where they work in order to deport them.  Also, current law prohibits profiling in order to ascertain a person’s citizenry.   I do not support “police state” type tactics in any manner.  It is imperative though that the physical US/Mexico border fence be completed as a national priority. I believe this would stem the flow of not only illegal aliens but it would also make a major impact on drug smuggling into this country. It would also limit the ability of terrorists to enter this country.

I believe the financial burden of educating illegals (as required under current law) can best be relieved through Latino charter schools sponsored by church groups to teach primary education with emphasis on learning to speak English.  The children can later be assimilated into public schooling without the need for bilingual instruction.  Public health care is provided to all Mexican citizens as guaranteed via Article 4 of the Mexican Constitution.  The US government should work out a social services treaty regarding compensation for health care and other services obtained while their citizens are working in the US if these workers are not enrolled in the US Social Security system. Private health insurance obtained from Mexican insurers should be part of the Visa application prior to approval of a Visa or work permit.

Illegals are covered under the recently enacted health-care bill insofar as emergency treatment is concerned.  Again, much of the financial burden can be relieved under a social services treaty with the Mexican government.  A harder line would be to apply the health-care expense against the annual trade imbalance between Mexico and the US.  The US had a negative trade balance with Mexico of 47.5 billion dollars in 2009.  An alternate source of revenue to pay for illegal immigrant health-care is to assess a tax against money sent out of the country.  In 2005, Mexicans sent $16.6 billion from the US to Mexico.  The tax could be withheld by the American institution that ultimately makes the transfer of payment.  Money from legal residents that had already been taxed through payroll deduction could later be refunded.

In a much broader picture, immigration reform is needed because two separate demographics are in play that will have profound effect on the US economy in the next decade or two.  The first demographic is that over the next 20 years, 87 million Baby Boomers will  be retiring from the work force.  The second demographic is that during this same period, 30 million workers will be entering the work force.  The net effect is a shortage of 57 million workers.  This has profound implications for the conduct of business, wages, and national GDP all of which will directly affect American standard of living and financial stability of the government at all levels.  The US needs to be proactive in this area now rather than await the problem.  I prefer some sort of a comprehensive registration card system where foreign workers simply swipe their card through a scanner when they cross our borders.  The registration system would entail a thorough background check and medical history check among other considerations.  Upon swiping their registration card at a border crossing or other port of entry, the US government will have a computer record of who is in the country.  Such a person could work above the table for 40 quarters, thus qualifying for Social Security, and then be granted citizenship if no criminal record exists.  Others who work below the table and not pay taxes would fall under the social services treaty with Mexico as mentioned above.  This simpler process would augment normal immigration procedure yet facilitate migration of workers in the years ahead and eliminate the corruption and payoffs needed to obtain a Visa or work permit through current channels.

What solutions would you offer with regard to our dependence on foreign oil? The US is rich in fossil energy and in sufficient quantity that we can meet our national energy needs and eliminate foreign oil imports.  Our technology is such that we can extract and use these fuels in an environmentally and ecologically safe and sound manner.  I would like to see the country become an energy exporter and use that money to pay down the National debt.  The obstacle to extracting our natural resources is environmental and conservationist lobbies and regulations as well as a lot of misinformation.  Additionally, I would promote use of solar panel technology as well as developing fuel cell technology and geothermal technology.  I am opposed to wind turbine technology as it is inefficient, unpredictable due to changing wind speed, carries a heavy maintenance burden, it is noisy, and not environmentally sound for land usage and aesthetics as well as a hazard to birds.  A more fully developed presentation of the negative value of exploiting wind energy is given in a slide presentation by physicist and environmental activist as well as fellow Morehead Tea Party member Dr. John Droz at

Any final thoughts? Yes.  One area I am specifically interested in is federalizing the    crime of child rape with mandatory sentencing of life in prison without parole and capital punishment if the rape accompanies death of the victim.  I believe this is a matter which needs to be taken out of State hands in order to standardize punishment across the country to permanently remove these predators from our society and to eliminate much of the plea bargaining that currently takes place with local District Attorneys.

In closing, I’d like to mention that I am the only lifelong Republican running in the May 4th Primary.  My two opponents are former Democrats, and as a Republican and a conservative, I believe it is essential to rid the Party of moderates and political opportunists.

Thank you for this opportunity to address these issues in your forum.