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Home   /   Capitol Connection   /   Capitol Connection 03/07/2006

Recorded Phone Messages a Nuisance?

Over the last few months, thousands of families in Western North Carolina have had their phone lines, answering machines and voicemails flooded with unsolicited political messages. Most often, these calls briefly mention the name of the sponsoring organization – but never give their own phone number or other contact information – and then proceed to deliver an attack on my voting record. These intrusive messages are the work of so-called “527” organizations, named for the section of federal tax law that regulates them.

I believe it is well past time that these unwanted recorded phone messages were stopped. That is why I have become a cosponsor of H.R. 1950, the Robo Calls Off Phones Act. This legislation will extend the National Do-Not-Call Registry to apply to recorded political phone messages. Western North Carolinians who choose not to receive calls from telemarketers should have the same right to decline these politically-oriented recorded messages.

The latest round of calls came from a group called American Family Voices, making outrageous claims about my voting record on port security. As I have already stated, no less than our very national security is at stake over the proposed United Arab Emirates ports deal – especially when one considers that two of those involved in the 9/11 attacks were UAE nationals. Simply put, America's port security must be protected by Americans, not contracted out to foreign corporations.

While the House is expected to soon take up legislation to hold 527 organizations accountable for their “issue advocacy” campaigns, you may wish to take more immediate action. If you would like to contact American Family Voices and ask that you no longer receive its unsolicited, automated phone calls, you can reach the organization at (202) 393-4352. Perhaps with enough of a response from WNC households, this particular organization will begin exercising a bit more consideration for your privacy – and the truth.

2006 Prayer Breakfast

On Saturday, March 11, 2006 at 8:00 AM, I will hold the 16th Annual Congressional Prayer & Praise Breakfast at the Crowne Plaza, 1 Holiday Drive in Asheville. I look forward to updating you at the breakfast on the outlook for Congressional action on matters of faith and family, including developments in education, health care and taxes.

To reserve a seat, please call my Asheville office at (828) 251-1988, and my staff will be happy to assist you. The cost is $13 per person at the door, which covers the cost of the meal; however, a reservation is required.

Please pass the word to friends and family, and I look forward to seeing you at this special event on March 11, 2006.

Registration for Opportunities 2006 is Underway

Registration is now underway for Opportunities 2006, “Making Dollars and Sense Selling to Government Agencies.” Opportunities 2006 is a regional “reverse” trade show that allows small businesses the opportunity to meet contracting officers from more than 60 federal, state and local government agencies and prime contractors.

Opportunities 2006 will allow small business owners to market their products and services, and take advantage of business opportunities, from the “largest purchaser of goods and services in the world”: government agencies. Seminars will include the latest information on the basics of federal and state contracting, plus information for women, minorities and veterans. Participants will also be able to place bids for goods and services during the seminar, and some contracts will be awarded on the spot.

The one-day seminar is from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday, March 13 at the Grove Park Inn in Asheville. The cost to attend the seminar is $50, which will include numerous workshops and networking opportunities, as well as lunch.

I am proud to sponsor this seminar, along with Representatives Patrick McHenry and Virginia Foxx in Western North Carolina, and Representative Gresham Barrett in Upstate South Carolina.

Service Academy Day Invitation

I would like to notify Western North Carolina high school students of North Carolina Service Academy Day, which will be held in Charlotte on Saturday, March 18, 2006. The 10 AM event will include presentations by representatives of the United States Air Force Academy, the United States Coast Guard Academy, the United States Merchant Marine Academy (Kings Point), the United States Military Academy (West Point), and the United States Naval Academy (Annapolis).

Jane Calvo of my Asheville staff will be attending the event to talk with students who want to pursue an appointment to one of the nation’s service academies. Cadets and Midshipmen from the Academies will also be in attendance to field questions. All interested students and their families are invited to attend. School counselors, athletic directors, and educators are also welcome. Time will be provided for interested students to meet informally with the academy and Congressional representatives of their choice. For students who want to learn more about how they can serve their country by attending a service academy and pursuing a career in one of the services, this event will be a unique opportunity.

This is the fifth time in North Carolina that all of the academies and representatives from several Congressional offices have come together to meet with students in a single location. Such events are rare nationwide. The Academy Day will be held at Providence High School, 1800 Pineville-Matthews Rd., Charlotte, NC 28270.

The application process for these appointments is very competitive, and I would urge anyone who is considering a career with our armed forces to participate in this event. For more information, please call Jane in my Asheville office at (828) 251-1988.

Summer Internships in Washington

I am looking for students to serve as summer interns in my Washington, DC office who have completed at least their second year of college, have a keen interest in government, and are willing to work long hours.

The Summer Intern Program is divided into two six-week sessions. The first session will begin Tuesday, May 30, 2006 and will end Friday, July 7, 2006; the second session will begin Monday, July 10, 2006 and conclude Friday, August 18, 2006. The program provides a $200 per-week stipend, and although no housing is provided, we do have information on housing in the area.

Please send a resume with cover letter, a brief (1-2 pages) writing sample, and 2 letters of recommendation to the attention of Michael Calvo of my Washington staff by Friday, March 31, 2006. You may also email this information to Michael at or mail your information to the following address:

339 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Internships are also available during the school year. If you have an interest in serving during this time, please send the same information that is requested above and what period of time you would be available.