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Wednesday, 26 September 2007 00:00

Mumpower first to formally challenge Shuler

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By Julia Merchant • Staff Writer

With no word yet from former U.S. House Rep. Charles Taylor on his decision to run for re-election, one Republican candidate — Asheville city councilman Dr. Carl Mumpower — has stepped up to announce his bid for the seat.

Speculation over who the Republicans will choose to run against current incumbent Heath Shuler (D-NC) has reached fever pitch in recent weeks as Taylor has delayed announcing whether he will run. Local Republicans had hoped for a Labor Day confirmation from Taylor, which never materialized.

Mumpower is the first candidate in the 11th Congressional District to officially declare his bid for office.

 

Who is Mumpower?

Mumpower, a psychologist, is a six-year veteran of the Asheville City Council. He stands out as a staunch Republican in liberal territory, and doesn’t waver from his stance on issues.

“I’ve spent six years in the toughest environment, but I have survived not by surrendering but by being fair, principal-based and working really hard,” Mumpower says of being a conservative on the council.

Apart from the liberal-leaning Asheville, Mumpower believes the rest of the 11th Congressional District is conservative at heart. Therefore, he thinks a Republican can once again take the seat Taylor held for 16 years.

“Western North Carolina is a conservative district, and I believe it should have a conservative representative who would challenge the absurdities in Washington,” he says.

Mumpower says it’s time for a major overhaul of the way Washington works, and faults both parties for not doing enough to protect the interests of the American people.

“I am not interested in participating in Washington as usual. I am challenging my party and Congress to higher standards than are presently demonstrated,” he says.

 

Mumpower on Heath Shuler:

“... As a politician, we’re defined not by what we call ourselves, but by our voting record. Shuler’s voting record is of a liberal, not a conservative.

“Congressman Shuler is a nice guy, and you’re never going to hear me say anything different than that; however, from his very first vote he demonstrated he was part of the congressional system that has betrayed the American people at the hand of both parties and shows no evidence of changing its course.”

 

On Charles Taylor:

“... I come from a different perspective than Congressman Taylor. I am not interested in participating in Washington business as usual. What I am going to be interested in duplicating, however, is Congressman Taylor’s excellent model of helping constituents negotiate the complex maze of the federal bureaucracy.”

 

On fiscal responsibility:

Mumpower says he is a true fiscal conservative, to the point that he will go out on a limb and say he’s going to be much less interested than either Shuler or Taylor in bringing federal money back to Western North Carolina. He says this is because the government needs to get the U.S. debt under control.

“I’m not interested in adding to an $8.8 trillion national debt to be paid for by our children and grandchildren. The federal government should be required to behave like the average family is required to behave and work within its means,” says Mumpower.

 

On change in Washington:

Mumpower adamantly believes that federal politicians cater far more to special interest groups than they do to the people who elected them.

“Basically, Washington operates as a rigged lottery, almost without exception. It caters to special interests that betray the common interest,” he says.

“(Politicians) continue to abandon their responsibility to protect our borders and enforce our laws. They continue to sidestep their responsibility to fix social security and our failing healthcare model. I can’t think of anything they do do well except spend money,” says Mumpower.

 

On illegal immigration:

Mumpower firmly believes the solution to illegal immigration lies in targeting the businesses that employ illegals.

“I resist the nonsense that illegal immigration is a terribly complex problem with no solution. The solutions are to be found in quickly and persistently finding those employers who sidestep our laws and undermine those who are trying to participate in American business on an honest basis,” he says.

 

On health care:

“... The solution is not to be found in the failed socialistic European model. Government, lawyers, insurance and other bureaucracies all want to get in the sandbox and get in the way of the doctor-patient relationship. It needs a major overhaul starting with getting the bureaucrats out from the doctor-patient relationship.”

 

On regional issues:

Mumpower believes that fixing government at the national level will lead to effective changes on a regional level.

“I think anything we do to fix the problems at a national level has a major impact on the region, so I’m going to concentrate on fixing the system with a belief that will have the most dramatic impact on Western North Carolina,” he says.

Specific regional concerns Mumpower has are the erosion of the region’s manufacturing base, made worse by unfair trade practices with China. He says he’s “really concerned about our economy.”

“I don’t think we’re playing in a fair world, and I believe it’s important that we make sure this economy is built on a solid foundation that is real,” says Mumpower.

 

On the North Shore Road:

Long an issue critical to voters in Western North Carolina, the question of whether to build a road through the Great Smoky Mountain National Park to uphold a 60-year-old government promise is easily answered by Mumpower. Like Taylor and unlike Shuler, Mumpower would support construction of the North Shore Road in Swain County.

“I do not believe that the passage of time, pressure from envirojackers, or indulgence of Tennessee special interests is a foundation for violating our word,” says Mumpower.

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