Donald Teel is the Founder and Editor of iVoteAmerica®. He has been an Arizona resident since 1960. He is a commercial real estate broker, private pilot, photographer and an avid reader of America's history.

Madison Cawthorn is a young, rising political star. His life and message cast a bright light across North Carolina. Cawthorn is smart, witty, candid, informed, and never bashful about his political beliefs and mission. Our noon conversation ran overtime as I came to know Madison’s story and his commitment to the people of North Carolina. He is asking them to send him the US House of Representatives.

What gripped me most was Cawthorn’s personal story, his understanding of the role of government, the nature of man, and the relationship each should have with the other.

The more I interview The Next Generation of Conservatives® across America, the more I see a theme emerging. We can take heart because we have a new generation of grounded and articulate patriots emerging who understand the critical issues America is facing and they want to solve the problems.

Whether it’s the size of government, immigration, healthcare, education or the deficit, the next generation gets it! The “it” is the trajectory of America and their dissatisfaction with policies that seem reckless, even un-American.

Madison, like the rest of my candidates, is fearful that we’re giving away our liberties, inch-by-inch, to consolidated government that doesn’t understand the electorate and our love for freedom.

Madison Cawtorn’s core comes from homeschooling, faith, family, and a high school tragedy that flipped his world upside down. Cawthorn, a high school athlete, spent 18 months recovering from a horrific automobile accident that severed his spinal cord, changing his life forever. His powerful story is encapsulated in my interview.

iVoteNorthCarolina, in cooperation with iVoteAmerica, is pleased and honored to endorse and support the candidacy of Madison Cawthorn for US House, District 11, in 2020.

Here’s my transcribed interview with Madison Cawthorn. His responses follow my questions.

Donald: Let start with a simple question…what’s your view of the role of government in our lives?

My view of government is a lot like that of John Locke, the British philosopher, whose writings had such a great impact on the American government. The government is an entity we create to facilitate the people, their freedoms, and our constitutional guarantees. Of course, the government is now overbearing. In simple terms, the role of government is to ensure I don’t get shot at by a foreign power, to maintain our borders, keep us safe, and to maintain the systems of a free market economy. Lately, trade has come into focus as a result of President Trump’s initiatives, and he is using the government to create not only free trade but fair trade. This is an appropriate role for the government. My vision of government is that it should be much smaller than it is now.

Donald: Your website states you are a constitutional conservative…what does that mean?

I believe in what the Founders said was the appropriate role of government, the enumerated powers. Being a conservative means I believe in limited government and the unlimited potential of people. When one reads the founding documents there’s no question they believed in limiting the role of governement…that’s conservatism. I believe people should limit the government, not the other way around.  People often ask me if I can divorce my faith from public policy…at the end of the day, I can’t.

Donald: Where do most of your beliefs, convictions and life priorities come from?

The majority of my beliefs and convictions come from my faith, even the Bible, where throughout my life certain values developed. My world view is based on these things. I had a very classical education where I read the same authors the Founding Fathers read. I’m familiar with John Locke’s social contract writings. All of this shaped my views and convictions. We can look back in history as see what has worked, we can study every single document and piece of literature ever written…I count myself blessed to have been able to do that to create my own philosophy and my own convictions.

Donald: You were homeschooled. Tell me about that.

I love the way I was educated. I enabled me to focus on my own interests and move at my own pace without being handicapped by someone who moves a little slower and is left behind by someone who moves too fast.  In many classrooms, the teachers have to cater to the lowest common denominator in the room so everyone can learn. I enjoyed having a personalized version of education. If I wanted to read about Roman history for three weeks straight, then I could do so. What I liked about home school was being taught how to learn, to have curiosity, and to go out and learn things that might not be in a textbook or a structured classroom situation. We all learn from experience, from books, and from mentors.

Donald: We believe we’re in a multi-generation struggle, and the Department of Education is an extension of the Democratic Party. What’s your thinking on education?

This might sound radical, but I think we need to abolish the Department of Education. There is no reason some bureaucrat in Washington, DC should be deciding what the families of western North Carolina what their children should be taught. Education should be handled at the local level. the Founding Fathers had no intention of allowing the federal government to be so broad and powerful. I really believe that if we gave the power of education back to the states it would create competition in education, not just locally, but between the states. Competition breeds greatness and great outcomes…that’s true in education. the Department of Education is actually hindering our education rather than helping it. Many schools are indoctrination camps.

Donald: We’re $23 trillion in debt and getting ready to spend more money that we don’t have. How do you feel about the national debt and would you support a balanced budget amendment?

A balanced budget amendment is one of the most important priorities I have. Balancing the budge won’t happen instantly, we need a 10-15 year plan to wean people off entitlements. If you randomly take any 3 or 4 letters of the alphabet and assemble them you likely to come up with the abbreviation of some government agency, department, or bureaucratic engine that is designed to tell you what to do…EPA…FDA…whatever! A mentor of mine said, “If we don’t handle the national debt, the national debt is going to handle us.” In my mind, the national debt is a 9000-pound lion sleeping in the room with us that someday will wake up and do some major damage to us.  If we don’t get a handle on the debt we are going to face some very difficult times. the debt we carry does not allow us to respond with agility to problems, such as the Wuhan Coronavirus. On top of the debt, we’ve outsourced so much of our production. Since my car accident, I found out that the heart medication I have to take is manufactured in China. What if we were to go into a serious war with a major power and all of our medication production is overseas? We should bring that production back to the United States to make us a more stable and viable country. why no have a country that can effectively respond to our needs? There is no nation better quipped, or with a better spirit, to handle a major crisis than America. I think the Coronavirus will ultimately showcase our greatest strengths.

Donald: Where do you and North Carolina sand on the Convention of States Project?

Article Five…yes. I do not know the answer to North Carolina’s position on the Convention of States Project. But it’s the mechanism by which we the people, acting through the states can check the federal government thorugh the creation of Amendments.

Donald: What’s the need of the moment in North Carolina that keeps you up at night?  And, your district?

Healthcare. People in my district are having to decide between taking a child to the doctor or feeding the child. When I had my car accident and spend a year-and-a-half in the hospital the bill was more than $3 million. Insurance covered most of it, but I was still left with over a million dollars of debt that I had to handle myself. we have got to fix our healthcare system and the only way to do that is the exact opposite of socialized medicine, opening upmarket competition. In North Carolina, Blue Cross Blue Shield virtually has a monopoly and can control costs, since they are the only option. We should enable health insurance companies to compete across state lines. We need the free market to work on our behalf with transparent pricing and more competitive services. We need to get rid of regulations that support enormous healthcare organizations. This system is causing Americans to have to pay an extraordinary amount of money for healthcare. The ACA was a disaster and the ACA light is just as bad. The Republican party should be the party coming up with a bold new strategy for healthcare, and the bold new strategies are really new, they are simply using the free market.

Donald: There’s a perception that North Carolina is slipping into a left of center. Is that fact or fiction?

I would say that perception is a fact. People who come to North Carolina tend to vote liberal. My plea is if you come here don’t bring the politics you fled to North Carolina. Our state is no longer a red state, I would say it is a battleground purple state. In District 11 there is no dominant party, 44% are undecided voters.

Donald: When elected, what are the first three things you want to tackle for North Carolinians?

My number one thing will be to combat the rise of socialism. The radical left is starting to corner the market on young people and I think I can combat that head-on.  Secondly, I want to address healthcare so we can bring down prices, increase quality, and create competition between healthcare providers. And, number three, deregulate industries by diminishing regulation and lowering taxes. The less regulation we have, the fewer bureaucrats we need and that how we can further lower the debt.

Donald: What is the most difficult issue you’re facing in the campaign at the moment?

Outside PAC money coming in for my opponent to influence and sway the voters in NC-11. I think our vote is sacred. Sometimes the outside influence is bad.

Donald: Do you think the government is intrusive…abusive…if so, how is it abusing North Carolinians?

Government is intruding into the lives of North Carolinians the same way it does in every other state. the federal government is just too involved. Over-regulation and taxation are abusive. We are taxed when we make money and when we spend money. At the end of the day, we have to pay for things, the basic functions of government.

Donald: What’s your most fond memory of high school?

Playing football…I grew up playing football. I enjoyed being an athlete, a part of a team, and serving my fellow athletes…that’s what I want to be in government, a servant to my fellow Americans. If I mess up, if I don’t hold the line, that means I let someone down, and that is not something I ever want to do.

Donald: I know you have a not-so-fond memory of high school. Tell me a little about the event that changed your life.

It was the defining moment of my life. I was 18 years old, I had been nominated to the US Naval Academy, life was going perfect. I went on a road trip with my very best friend and when we were driving back in the middle of the day, a couple of Christian guys, no drinking or anything like that. It was a long road trip, and I was about to take the wheel and laid back to take a quick nap. During the drive, my friend fell asleep at the wheel. We were in a construction zone traveling about 70 miles per hour and ran into a concrete pylon. I have no recollection of the accident, this is what has been told to me. The car caught on fire. My spine snapped. My kidney was ripped off.  Both of my ankles were crushed. My pelvis was crushed. My lungs collapsed. My diaphragm ruptured. My spinal cord was severed and left me paralyzed from the waist down. I hope someday with the help of technology to walk again. Right now I’m in a wheelchair. It has been a difficult road, not easy, but it has given me a big appreciation for life. That’s one of the reasons I’m running for office. Even though I’m still young, I realize how precious life is and at any moment my life can be taken from me. Life is a precious gift and I need to be a steward of it and take action when I can…there is no time to waste.

Donald: When was the last time you were really ticked-off about politics and what triggered you?

I will tell you that the one thing that has angered me the most is the Republican party. In 2016 we had the House, the Senate, and the Presidency, and what did we do with it?  We didn’t do jack with it. I feel like we dropped the ball. We had the ability to do so much. We had a bold President and at the end of the day the House and Senate let him down.

Donald: What is your view of life and more particularly the sanctity of life.

At the end of the day I think we have to overturn Roe v. Wade. Our laws should reflect our science. We had a Supreme Court ruling on abortion before we had the ability to do an ultrasound. we can now look inside a mother’s womb and see the baby’s heartbeat. We now know the baby responds to pain. Babies are alive, they just haven’t been born yet. It’s the God-mandated duty of the strong to protect the weak. All of life is sacred from conception until natural death.

Donald: What is the one thing you will never, ever compromise, even unto death?

There are a lot of things that are non-negotiable. I would never renounce my religion.

Donald: Is the United States too involved in protracted wars?

America has done a lot for the world and for freedom and we should not police the world.

Donald: Favorite movie?

Gladiator with Russell Crowe.

Donald: Do you ear Sushi?

I eat Sushi often.

Donald: First car?

Honda Civic. hen after the accident my doctors told me I need something low to the ground, two doors, and I’m sitting in my Dodge Challenger right now.

Donald: Self-improvement goal?

I would like to improve my attention to small details. I’m a big picture guy who needs detailed people around me.

Donald: What time do you wake up in the morning?

Around 6,  sometimes 8 to 8:30, depending on my schedule.

Donald: Do you have a favorite Bible verse?

John 15:13, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”

Donald: What’s your favorite color?


Donald: What food do you constantly crave, but shouldn’t eat?


Donald: Favorite President?

I have two: Ronald Reagan and Andrew Jackson, who is my favorite President to study.

Donald: What was your first job?


Donald: Do you have a pet?

I have a fully trained attack dog named Beowolf, a German Shepard.

Madison Crawthorn Website

Donate to the Madison Cawthorn Campaign

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