Kent Kanoy: On the record


“The purpose of my campaign is to give a voice to those who believe that the Bush administration has committed high crimes and misdemeanors which threaten our privacy, our liberties, and the very Constitution itself.”

—Kent Kanoy, 4th District Congressional Candidate



Kent Kanoy is challenging Congressman David Price in North Carolina's 4th Congressional District. He was kind enough to allow BlueNC to interview him about the journey he's undertaking.

You’re a busy man with a busy life doing important work. What on earth possessed you to run against a well-established incumbent with nine terms under his belt?

First, let me thank BlueNC for its interest in my campaign and for the opportunity to share my views with fellow progressives. Your question is a good one, and my wife continues to demand a good answer. Seriously, I have never held public office and have had no intentions or desire to do so until now. What motivates me to challenge David Price is my disappointment in the leadership (or lack thereof) of the national Democratic office holders.

I believe our country is experiencing a Constitutional crisis every bit as grave and dangerous as that suffered under the Nixon administration. David Price and the other national Democratic leaders have failed to confront the Bush/Cheney administration and hold it accountable for exceeding its powers granted under the Constitution. More recently, the Democratic Senate leadership fought to prevent Russ Feingold’s Censure bill from coming to the floor for a vote. There can be little doubt that the national Democratic leadership is adrift in a boat without a rudder.

How has your career in social work shaped your approach to politics?

My education and experiences in social work convince me that working class and lower socio-economic citizens share the same values and dreams as the rest of our more well-to-do citizens. What they do not share is the same good health, the same good education, and the same opportunity to build wealth and economic security. I believe it is the job of good government to remove barriers and create opportunities that will build a healthy, educated and wealthy nation from the bottom up, not the top down.

It’s clear you want to see George Bush impeached. If you were in the US House of Representatives right now, what would you be doing to make that happen?

I truly believe that if I were in the US House come next January, the very fact that the impeachment message had unseated a good and kind nine-term incumbent would serve as a clarion call to other members of Congress that Americans value the Constitution and do not want to compromise their freedoms. In terms of specific action, I will proudly co-sponsor H.Res.635 (the Conyers resolution). To date, David Price has been unwilling to co-sponsor this important resolution.

Let’s say America is ready for universal health care? How would we get from “here to there?” That is, what would actually have to happen for universal health care to become a reality?

Let me begin by saying that getting America ready for universal health care is no small feat. We hear about the evils of “socialized medicine” and the flaws in systems of care in countries like Canada and Great Britain. I have worked in the health field for thirty years as a provider of service. I have had to deal with all of the private insurance companies and government sponsored health systems. You know what? In terms of coverage and affordability, the Medicare system is far superior. So, we have a great model. The trillion dollar question is how to pay for expanding the Medicare model to cover all Americans.

I’m certainly no political wonk, but the United States National Health Insurance Act (HR676) seems like a good way to begin. Unfortunately, this resolution has been tied up in subcommittee for about a year. It has 62 co-sponsors. David Price is not listed as a co-sponsor. I would gladly so-sponsor this measure.

George Bush appears to be building a case for war against Iran in the same way it did with Iraq. What should the US House of Representatives be doing right now to fulfill its check-and-balances responsibilities to American citizens?

Iran provides Congress with an opportunity for a “do over”. The US House should reject any attempt by Bush to hype the danger of a nuclear Iran. The House should make it clear that Iran is years away from a nuclear bomb and that a repeat of the Iraq paradigm is dangerous and ill-advised. The House should inform the nation that the coming years must be spent engaging the global community in diplomatic efforts to negotiate a myriad of nuclear containment/disarmament agreements involving not only Iran but Israel, Pakistan, India, China, as well as the United States.

You’ve built a foothold of support among progressives who are frustrated with business as usual in Washington. What are you doing to reach out to others who may not focus on issues until a couple of days before the election?

Participating on the progressive blogs has been helpful to me both in getting my name out there and in raising my political awareness. My web site has been getting “hits” daily and people are very supportive offering to vote for me and volunteer. I met a lot of wonderful people this weekend at the Anti-war rally in Fayetteville. I am attending the impeachment meetings led by Al McSurely. I have been invited to several political forums including the Women’s League of Voters in Durham on April 18. Although unable to take a leave of absence from work, I am committed to using my vacation time in order to increase my campaign visibility. I believe that if 4th district voters know there is a candidate who is committed to impeaching the Bush/Cheney administration, who is committed to setting a time table for ending the Iraq War, and who is committed to health care for all, the voters will vote for that candidate.

I believe I have the right message for the voters in the 4th district and for the national Democratic Party. The major concern I hear from others is that I am not the right messenger, have no political pedigree, have never held public office and am not willing to fundraise or accept donations. I cannot argue with these concerns and let me toss in one more. I did not begin this campaign 12-18 months ago. Until the eleventh hour, I was hoping that David Price would step up to the plate on impeachment and ending the Iraq War. Short of that I was hoping a “legitimate” candidate might step forward to carry the banner.

I can understand why no challenger with hopes of a furthering his or her political career stepped forward. The personal and political cost is too great. Thus the paradox: only someone who has nothing to lose politically has the power to challenge an entrenched incumbent. At the same time, history says a non-politician without a track record will not be taken seriously as a candidate. That said, I will continue to reach out to the 4th district voters.

Anything else you want to add?

No matter the out come, this campaign has been a wonderful experience for me. I confess to feeling a sense of hopelessness and helplessness, even despair, following the 2004 election. However, through this campaign I have encountered so many who have the courage to act to revive our party’s values and restore integrity to our government. I want to thank BlueNC for restoring my hope and for setting an example for me to follow.

So there you have it. In a previous interview I said that no one wants to see George Bush out of office more than David Price. That may or may not be true. I sure as hell want Bush impeached. And so does Kent Kanoy.

Anglico

PS If you've never run for office, you may have a hard time grasping how much work it really is. You put yourself out there with a big public commitment, and before you know it, everybody and their sister has something to say about you. They like you, they don't like you, they give you a hard time, they give you long odds, they give you more advice than you know what to do with. So for the record, let me say this: I admire anyone who's willing to take on this kind of challenge -- especially when the commitment behind their action is grounded in integrity and the common good.

Comments

Thanks Kent.

We appreciate your willingness to participate with us here at BlueNC. Good luck.

A

Kent, here's a question

And I won't think less of you if you choose not to answer it.

What if Rep. Price signs on to the Conyers resolution, or otherwise expresses his support for impeachment before the primary? Do you say "mission accomplished" and throw him your support? Or are you in it for the long haul?

As much as this question is about your own intentions, it's about the expectations of those who have supported you, financially and otherwise. What will they expect of you if Rep. Price cuts you off on the issue of impeachment?

Thanks for your time!

Thanks Kent!

We appreciate the time you took to answer the questions. Best of luck in your campaign. I'll promote the interview on my two blogs to help get some coverage.

Great job as usual, A.



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Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

what if ?

Lance,

Yours is a great question and deserves an answer. If David Price were to co-sponsor the conyers resolution and the murtha resolution,it would mean that he is committed to a select committee investigation of possible impeachable offenses and committed to setting forth a time table for bringing the troops home. If David took that kind of unequivocal stance, then i would jump up and down and sing the doxology.

I would end my campaign, endorse David,and go door to door on his behalf. I believe my supporters would support this decision.

Sadly, i doubt that David will take this stand. My guess is that he feels secure in keeping the progressives in his camp(after all, where else can we go ?), and he is going to make sure that he does not alienate his moderate/conservative constituency or "fire up" the republicans in the general election.

Thanks.

I appreciate the answer.

Dear Kent

I find this unfortunate. Not because I support your candidacy, but because you would make it a one-issue platform. There are many progressive issues that you stand for (I would assume), and which you should stand up for. Since you are in for a penny, why not be in for a pound.

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

Echoing MyDD

To echo a comment I just made on MyDD and above - I don't think there is anything wrong with entering a race based on one bad position by your opponent. But, once you are in, why not stand up for EVERYTHING you believe in, not just that one thing.

I, personally, am disappointed in our Democratic Senators for voting yea on last year's budget that cut services to the blind, elderly, and disabled while giving tax cuts to the wealthy and businesses. It sounds like a Republican agenda, not a Democratic one. I would have no problem with someone running against a candidate BECAUSE of this one vote - but stick up for the rest of your opinions as well.

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

Diaried at Mydd

As Robert noted, I put up a short boring diary on MyDD about the Price and Kanoy interviews.

I have never had much luck in getting a response from that site, and this piece looks like it will not be any different. I am beginning to think that I should focus on DailyKos for cross posting, I never get on the rec list there either but at least there is some attention to the diary.

Nicely done...

I rec'd and left a comment. I also sent an email to the CBN. Good job highlighting BlueNC exclusives and the fact that NC isn't as red as people think. (In more ways than one!)



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Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

Hehehe

Well, it wasn't actually a sympathy vote. I think the work that Anglico has done for these interviews and Robert's Medicaid article need to get more attention.

I blog hop quite a bit and I don't see any other local/state blogs that have true interviews with candidates. I also think using the word impeachment in the title gives the diary a pretty good shot at getting some dialogue going and that's what should happen.



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Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

The money thing

Kent,

I commend your willingness to take Price on, honestly I do. But I don't understand why you won't accept funds to do it. I'm right there with you with PAC money, but how are you going to pay for things like signs or ads? People who contribute feel more invested in the outcome, as well. Just ask any of your neighborhood Deaniacs.

I appreciate the focus you have as well. The goal is to have a Rep who will stand up and I support you completely in backing David Price if he chooses to do so.

But there's going to be a limit to the amount of noise we can make without buying any microphones.

So Bill

Do you agree with a one-issue campaign?
Is this not a perfect Al Sharpton moment, in which to address all and any concerns?

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

Robert - there is an article in the WaPo

about how the Fighting Dems/Veterans are making this a one issue campaign. I thought of you.



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Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

What the hey?

I posted a comment asking why Kent wouldn't accept any donations and it got flagged as potential spam.

What the hey?

There's a Bayesian layer

to our spam filtering setup, which sometimes flags perfectly legit comments as spam. If the problem recurs, let me know. Your earlier comment has been published.

Robert and Bill

Although I have strong views on a number of issues, i felt that focusing on my top three priorities made the most sense given the short primary election cycle.Also, i believe the failure of the national Dem leadership is most stark in addressing(or not addressing) these three issues.

regarding fundraising/accepting donations : there are a couple of reasons why i have taken a stand not to accept donations.

first, i believe that voters in the 4th district deserve an opportunity to send someone to congress who is beholden to no one but the voters themselves. that is why i also pledge to do no fundraising while in office. of course, i will accept no gratuity, large or small, from any lobby or special interest group.

second,for the more pragmatic bloggers, the election cycle is so short that i believe i could not raise significant funds even if i wanted to do so. in fact, i have the funds to fund my campaign to some degree. there is a $5000 limit on campaign spending before having to file fec reports and whatnot. i plan to spend up to that amount. i have purchased 250 signs,thousands of flyers,and if the limit permits i might buy some ads.

however, the success of this campaign will depend on those voters who hear the message.will they come out and vote ? will they take it upon themselves to spread the word to others ?

i'm naive when it comes to politics.otherwise, i wouldn't be in the race. but dream with me for a moment. what if the national and state party leaders woke up on may3rd and found that it had to deal with a true grassroots candidate who won ,not because of money spent,not because of having the right political connections,but had won because the people said loud and clear that we want our govrnment back, and we want it now !

Kent

I admire what you're doing and why you're doing it. This particular government is too dense to get that message - Democrats and Republicans alike. If nothing else, your candidacy can provide others with questions for David Price (and other incumbents) that might otherwise not be asked. Competition is essential to the Democratic process.



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Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

I respectfully disagree

$5K isn't likely to make enough noise to get you noticed outside of the blogosphere.

Accepting money from voters means that you're "beholden" to the same folks you want to vote for you. There's no conflict of interest in that. If you're overly concerned, set a ceiling that you'll take from any donor at whatever threshold below the legal limit makes sense to you.

I think you would be surprised how many people would be willing to cough up $100 for your campaign. When I heard you were running against David Price, I went to your site and that was the first thing I looked for.

You're around my age, give or take. I find it hard to believe anybody who has lived through the same things I have is still naive about politics.

money and making noise

Bill,

let me clarify by saying that i am naive when it comes to campaign politics. To the extent that i had any campaign strategy, it was this:

i believed that there were many,like me,who were disaffected Dems in the 4th district who were outraged at bush for trashing the constitution and just as outraged at david price and the national leadership for not taking a stand. ditto on ending the iraq war. my idea was that i could focus my campaign to reach those voters,and that, in turn,those voters would use their own networks to get the word out to like minded voters. i assumed that there would be a low voter turn out because there are no senate races and no presidential race. moreover,the price/national Dem strategy appeared to be one of running on a "vote for us because we are not responsible for this mess" platform. i figured such a platform would compel very few to go to the polls.in other words i calculated that progressive voters would have a greater influence in this primary.

my hope was/is that people would get to know me through blog communications and visits to my web site and that i would ,over time,earn your trust and convince you that an "under the radar" campaign just might work.

at any rate, i am glad that you visited my site,and i will be even happier should you decide to place a sign in your yard,advocate my candidacy with family,friends,and neighbors,and vote for me on may 2nd.

by the way, i will be at the chapel hill library this saturday(10am-4pm), handing out campaign literature and talking with people.Stop by and say hello,or better yet,help me man the table for an hour or two.

kent

The problem with that

is that the blogosphere by itself isn't big enough to trigger the network effect in a Congressional District election, even if you add second- and third-order triggers (friends of friends of bloggers).

You need to make more first line connections and you don't have a lot of time to do it. Buzz works best when it's reinforcing. ("My buddy was telling me he read Kent Kanoy is challenging Price, then I heard Kanoy's ad on the radio and I think the guy has a plan.") Multiple contacts are needed to get anywhere and there isn't a lot of time to do it.