Republican congressional candidate Michele Woodhouse holds Q&A at UNCA


Aaron Mathey

Michele Woodhouse, left, speaks to the College Republicans Club on Feb. 28 while club president Sophie Ross listens intently.

Aaron Mathey, Multimedia Editor, [email protected]

Following the redrawing of North Carolina’s representative congressional map, Michele Woodhouse aims to represent North Carolina’s 11th Congressional District.

“Often people will say when they meet with young republicans or college republicans that they’re the future of the party – well I believe you are the party because you’re here now,” said Woodhouse on the topic of young conservatives.

Woodhouse visited the UNC Asheville College Republicans meeting Feb. 28 to speak to young republicans about her campaign and experiences as a conservative running for congressional office.

Woodhouse’s visit consisted of a short overview of her platform and campaign followed by a lengthy Q&A discussion. 

Attendance came to about 13 people, most of which responded to Woodhouse’s visit with agreeance and cautious optimism.

During the talk, Woodhouse contrasted herself against what she describes as “pleated pants republicans.” She characterizes these politicians as establishment, career republicans and describes them as not being committed to their constituency.

“You have lifelong politicians whether they’re serving in Raleigh with a Southern accent or their serving in Washington DC, it’s not about serving the people, it’s about serving an agenda and their own personal aspirations. My brand is all about what we’re doing here on the ground in North Carolina,” she said.

Woodhouse plans to fill 30% of her post-election employees with veterans both in North Carolina and Washington D.C. This promise is part of a larger plan which seeks to employ her representative staff based on constituent demographic data.

As a self described faith-based conservative, Woodhouse took time to discuss abortion and her postition as a pro-life candidate.

“Pro-life is my top issue, everything starts there,” Woodhouse said. “Quite often people think of republicans as fighting the issue of ‘Don’t get an abortion.’ But then after the woman decides to have her baby then we’re like, ‘Don’t go on government assistance,’ and you’re kind of on your own. We kind of abandon a woman after she makes the decision,” Woodhouse said.

Woodhouse focused her pro-life discussion on framing abortion as a problem faced by disadvantaged women who feel that they have little to no other choice.

“When we look at statistics, the number one killer in the Black community is not gun violence, it’s abortion,” Woodhouse said.

Contrary to Woodhouse’s comments, the CDCs national center for health statistics, the leading causes of death for non-hispanic African Americans are heart disease, cancer, and COVID-19. 

While speaking on critical race theory, Woodhouse aligned herself against the academic movement.

“We need to teach what happened historically. CRT for me, as a white woman, I have a different perspective on it than a white man may have on it. But when I talk to people like Mark Robinson and other leaders in the Black community who will tell you it’s rhetoric, it’s not accurate, it’s creating further division, anything that is a social engineering platform that’s integrated into our curriculum is not good for kids,” Woodhouse said.

According to Woodhouse,children would not be able to grasp and critically think through issues such as gender identity and racial history in the United States.

“Your generation and people behind you are not given the opportunity to critically think,” she said.

Woodhouse positioned herself firmly against the existence of federal student loans.

“I do think the government should stop giving out student loans. It’s not fair to your generation and the generations that will follow and the generation before you that started really getting settled in student debt,” Woodhouse said. 

Woodhouse proposed an expansion of graduate school work-study programs to undergrad, which she proposes would cover the majority of costs. However, Woodhouse said she is not in favor of any policies which would use the Federal government’s power to aid those who have graduated with debilitating amounts of debt.

“I don’t think the federal government should have to do anything about that. I mean the person took the debt on, they have a grown up responsibility they took the debt. It’s not the federal government’s responsibility to erase that debt because the person took the debt on fully knowing what they were doing,” Woodhouse said.

During the conversation, UNCA Junior Aaron Jackson said he students and graduates join the military to avoid student debt.

“A friend of mine went to a private school in California, he was in a massive amount of debt and couldn’t really find too many jobs with his degree. Right now he’s in officer candidate school in Quantico, Virginia for the Marines to pay off that debt. They’re covering it fully and he’s getting paid while doing so,” Jackson said. “It’s an excellent opportunity to serve the country, I had a great experience and saw a lot of the world doing so.”

Senior at UNCA and president of the College Republicans Club Sophie Ross, said she found herself mostly satisfied with the Woodhouse visit. 

“I hesitate to say this because it could just be that I’m naive and not picking up on something sinister but she did seem fairy genuine, which compared to most of the other politicians I’ve met is not a characteristic that they share at all – from the get-go they just ooze sociopathy and lies. And she did not, or at least none that I picked up on,” said Ross.

Ross said the views and statements of Woodhouse do not necessarily represent those of the members of the UNCA College Republicans Club.

Junior Allison Lyall said she enjoyed the straightforward nature of Woodhouse’s responses to questions in the room. 

“She gave a lot of details, but not too much to overwhelm us,” Lyall said.

In response to one of Woodhouse’s discussion of gender identity among young school children, Lyall said “The whole transgender thing with being a tomboy – I was a tomboy as a kid – I just think I agree with what she said about it. It’s that, if we were to be like that now we would probably be told we should question our gender identity which can mess up the mind of a child.”

Junior Jonah Gorenstein responded to Woodhouse positively, explaining how Woodhouse seemed different from other politicians.

“I’ve talked to a lot of politicians face to face, usually it’s a lot of ‘polititalk.’ You’ll ask them a question and they have something to say not completely related to the question, they’ll find a way to say it. She directly answers the question, she says what she believes,” Gorenstein said.