Cavanaugh, who currently serves on Place One of the Alabama Public Service Commission and is running as a Republican candidate for president of the Alabama Public Service Commission in the Nov. 6 general election, was the keynote speaker for the recent Ninth Annual Cherokee County Republican Party celebration which was held in the Cherokee County Chamber of Commerce headquarters of the campus of Gadsden State Community College-Cherokee.
“This is a big election year,” said Cavanaugh. “I want you to think back with me four years ago. If you will remember just four years ago, we heard some things that shocked us, but we are starting to forget those things. Do you remember when then Candidate Obama said the problem with rugged individualism is that it just doesn’t work? Who is he kidding? That is what this country is built on is rugged individualism, pull yourselves up by the bootstraps and make it work. You are American, you can be or do anything you want to be or do in this country. He destroyed that vision for a lot of our young folks because he said rugged individualism doesn’t work.”
“Do you remember also when he told Joe the Plumber just four years ago we need to spread the wealth?” Cavanaugh asked. “Well folks, he meant what he said and now we’ve got another opportunity. but you know the one that got me most four years ago was when he started talking about us southerners clinging to our guns and our religion. Well you know what? I am proud to be a member of the NRA, I am proud of the fact that we like our guns and I am really proud of the fact that we are good Christian folks in this state and we still say a prayer before we eat our supper.”
“Now fast forward, four years later, what is President Obama saying now?” Cavanaugh asked. ‘“You didn’t build it, someone else built it. The government helped you build it.’ That is not what America is about, that is not what our country is about. But also the thing that probably shocked me the most is when at the Democrat Convention the folks at that Convention three times shouted to deny God being in their platform. They made a real stand at their convention and I think they showed that there is a clear difference between the two parties and the two candidates this year.”
Cavanaugh said she was “enlightened” her first day in her new position as commissioner of the Alabama Public Service Commission Place One when a well meaning staffer asked her how many cars she would need for her office. Not too long afterward, there was a meeting about how many cell phones she would need, computers and laptops and also redecorating her office. The attitude around the workplace, Cavanaugh said, was that there was plenty of money to go around.
Cavanaugh, however, did not feel the need for any of this equipment to do her job effectively and she began asking questions about the budget. Her research led her to the discovery that there was a $5.4 million slush fund for the Alabama Public Service Commission. Cavanaugh, Senate Pro Tem Del Marsh the Speaker of the House turned that money over to newly-elected governor Robert Bentley.
“I say all of this to say that was business as usual at the commission before I got there,” said Cavanaugh. “I will also tell you we had 119 employees, today we have 98 and that is less than two years later. We also at the time, had 119 employees and 59 cars. Every two employees had a car. The question I asked, is how many need a car to do their daily work? These are the ones that go out and insure that 18 wheelers have insurance, we have inspectors for that. We have gas pipeline inspectors. The answer was 22 and yet we had 59 cars. Well that is unacceptable in my opinion and so we cut that down to 39 cars. There are no cars in my personal office. I also have the smallest staff of the three commission offices.”
“But I believe as president I will have the bully pulpit to say we are not going to have 39 cars,” said Cavanaugh. “We are going to cut it down to only those that need it for operational purposes. That is what state government needs to be. It needs to be lean, and it needs to be responsive to the people of Alabama. That is what I am trying to do at the commission.”
Cavanaugh said she would continue the fight to protect the coal industry and keep rates down despite the Obama Administration’s “Chicago style politics” with EPA regulations, which have the potential to drive up rates for all Alabama consumers.
“There is a lot that is happening at the public service commission, but I believe we can even do more.” Said Cavanaugh. “I believe we can truly be one of the major tools in Alabama’s economic tool belt. Because any time a company is looking to come somewhere, or to expand, the first thing they want to know is what are my fixed costs going to be. So I want to make sure that at the public service commission, we are sitting across from these prospective new jobs and letting them know that we are going to have the lowest prices, we are going to make sure our product is reliable, because that is very important that it is reliable and you can turn it on. And we are also going to make sure that it is stable. You have a stable cost, you have a reliable product and you also have an inexpensive product, you are going to bring jobs to the state. So those are my goals for the future and the state of Alabama.”
“But let me tell you, don’t get down this election cycle,” said Cavanaugh. “You are going to hear all sorts of polls, you are going to hear all sorts of pundits talking about the election, but I believe the people of Alabama are going to be the beacons for the rest of this country and that we are going to shine brighter in the state of Alabama and the rest of the nation is going to come along side of us. And we are going to pull the lever and put Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan in the White House. And I hope when you do that, you will come on down. I would love for you to circle in that Republican Box. Go on down and look at the president of the public service commission.”
“On Nov. 6, I want to paint the state the reddest state in the United States, but I need your help,” said Cavanaugh “Please join with me in encouraging your friends, your neighbors, the folks at the ball park, where you are church, let the folks know it is so important to be registered to vote and to vote. And they can vote early via absentee ballots. Encourage them to do that. It is an honor to be here. Thank you all. I can’t count the number of times I have been in this county and I always love to be here. You all offer such great hospitality.”
Kay VanSant, president, Cherokee County Republican Women, shared a few words.
“I just want to share some thoughts that I have,” said VanSant. “I am no political science teacher, left the classroom years ago, and I have been discouraged at times with our government, I have been frustrated at times with our government, but never in my life have I been afraid of our survival. I am now. I am telling you there are forces at work out there that would like to see America a Third World Nation and they are doing everything in their power to see that we go there. So I am asking you, in the next 26 days, to contact everybody you know and get the word out of truth to the voter. We are never going to see it on the media, we are never going to hear it and we are not going to read it in the newspapers, the few we still have published.’
“But I really, really urge you, every single vote will make a difference in saving our country and I beg you to do that,” said VanSant. “God Bless you, travel safely and God Bless America!”