Deena C. Bouknight, Contributing Writer
While many politicians historically run on a platform of change and transformation, NC-11 Congressional Representative, 25-year-old Madison Cawthorn, sworn in Jan. 13 as the youngest Congressman in United States history, explained, “I’m not just another politician. I didn’t come here to make a career out of politics.”
Rep. Cawthorn’s forthright, impassioned character propelled him past a Trump-endorsed candidate in last year’s primary and then secured his position in the House during the November election when he beat Democrat Moe Davis, U.S. Air Force colonel, attorney, educator, politician, and former administrative law judge.
Cawthorn hails from Hendersonville and announced Jan. 13 the opening of his first District office there, adding: “This is just the first of multiple offices that will work closely with our D.C. staff to provide quick, effective, and satisfactory results for my constituents in NC-11.” Supporting and representing the needs of Western North Carolina through the Hendersonville office is a diverse team, including Lisa Wiggins, a Hendersonville-based small business owner, and Brianna McMinn, NC Legislative Liaison for the Western NC DWI Task Force and former Western Executive Assistant for Senator Chuck Edwards.
Throughout the campaign, Cawthorn made his support of Western North Carolina known via multiple personal appearances in the counties, including at the October relocation to Franklin of Special Liberty Project and at a fall Youth GOP Meet & Greet. And, on Feb. 9, a little over a month after being sworn in, he proposed an amendment providing extensive broadband access in NC-11.
Cawthorn is an 8th generation resident of Western North Carolina, and he has shared that his ancestors served area communities for more than 200 years, including fighting in the Revolutionary War.
“I found that most of the people in WNC agree with me on one very basic idea: that our government does not work for average working class Americans,” Cawthorn told Macon County News in early February. “Our politicians in Washington are more concerned with lining their pocket books than leading their people. I want to change that. There are very simple issues that deserve equally simple solutions, from increased broadband access, to opening our schools, to restarting our economy or rebuilding our infrastructure, I plan to invest in our local counties. Issues like the pro-life movement, the 2nd Amendment, and cutting regulations are very important to me.”
Growing up in Western North Carolina influences his decision making as does his faith. “Being raised in NC-11 makes it very easy to represent the beliefs of my constituents, because they are also my beliefs. I also am indebted to the people who raised me. Our mountain values have guided me effectively through this first month of public service.”
At last September’s Faith, Family & Freedom Rally, which drew hundreds to Smoky Mountain Center for the Performing Arts, Cawthorn shared his Christian testimony and left many attendees in tears. The event also attracted international press interested in Cawthorn, including a reporter from the historic Paris, France magazine “Le Figaro, “who shared aspects of his testimony in a Sept. 29, 2020 edition.
“My faith is the bedrock of my life,” said Cawthorn. “It informs my moral beliefs, and is a comfort during trials. Everything I seek to do is informed by my Christian worldview. I won’t change my position in order to win political favor. I will always stand by what I believe.”
He has shared unabashedly that his faith is what sustained him through a tragic car accident in 2014 that left him paralyzed from the waist down.
Regarding his age, Cawthorn said he hopes it will encourage other young people to pursue service in some capacity that will help America. “It’s incredibly important. I believe that my generation was placed here, in this country, at this moment, for such a time as this. Young people must rise up and defend our nation or we are at risk of losing what makes us great. I’m always looking for opportunities to connect with young Americans, and motivate them to enter politics as a calling, not a career.”
He added that those who supported him in Western North Carolina can do their part to assist him in his endeavors as a Congressman.
“Be involved, go talk to your local representatives, join a local GOP chapter, make your voice heard. Pray. Prayer is an undervalued tool in our current day and age, but it’s also incredibly important. Volunteer with my campaign in 2022, or if you’re young, look into our district and D.C. internship program to get involved,” he said.