Decorated Veteran Seeking Cawthorn’s Seat - TribPapers

Decorated Veteran Seeking Cawthorn’s Seat

Col. Rod Honeycutt Ret.

Woodfin In the 2020 census, North Carolina picked up a couple of more districts­—now what used to be the 11th Congressional District is now the 14th Congressional District. There are already plenty of candidates looking to fill the seat Madison Cawthorn left vacant when he announced he would be running in the 13th District in the 2022 election.

A US Army veteran from Woodfin hopes to fill that seat and continue serving his country from home. Rod Honeycutt, fresh out of the military after retiring last year, is running for the Republican nomination. He is already joined by several other GOP candidates, including Bruce OConnell, Wendy Nevarez, Michele Woodhouse, Matthew Burril, Chuck Edwards and Ken McKim. There are still additional filing days to come. 

“For 37 years, I’d been protecting our Democracy and now I’ve come home to participate in it,” Honeycutt told the Tribune when asked why he was running for Congress. 

Honeycutt said that for the last five years he advised Congress on military matters—that got him interested in the legislative process. Honeycutt also received endorsements from Woodfin Mayor Jerry VeHaun and Former Buncombe County Sheriff Van Duncan.

Voice for Veterans

“Being a voice for our veterans means a lot to me, but having the situational understanding of why we’re doing what in the world, has a whole lot of importance,” says Honeycutt. 

A comprehensive understanding of global affairs is what Honeycutt says he brings to the table that other candidates don’t. Honeycutt has served worldwide from the Pacific to Eastern Europe to the Middle East, which he believes brings a unique perspective to the seat.

Honeycutt helped shut down operations in several countries and developed the plan for Afghanistan. “For 19 months, the plan went well, no casualties. Closing 41 locations…then we switch our commander-in-chief and President Biden, for whatever reason, decided to go his own way and didn’t want to listen. It cost 13 men and women their lives and I take that personally. Especially after two tours in Afghanistan.” 

Honeycutts concerns don’t end there. ”Fear now, I have, if you look at Afghanistan, five countries surround it, three of them are nuclear and we left an airbase there and I tell you that’s the Asheville Airport times three runways…what could turn into a place to plan, rehearse and execute attacks on our country…we made a strategic mistake in leaving that base.”

However, insight into the military situation of the country is not the only talent he brings to the table. The army also taught him supply chain management. “I’ve been moving stuff from factories to foxholes across the world…I can move it across the United States. At least develop and system to move it from the west and east coast.”

Domestic Policy

In domestic issues, Honeycutt sees the economy as the number one issue. “I think we’ve created an environment where fast-food restaurants can’t stay open. We’ve got businesses that can’t hire enough employees to fill their regular hours.” Honeycutt says overcoming supply chain issues is number two. He named two businesses he visited who were experiencing major supply chain dilemmas. 

“Ties and suits verses dog tags and boots” is the theme of his campaign, he explains. 

Honeycutt is concerned about congressional leadership for the district with the last two congressmen leaving the district. He pledges not to do the same. Additionally, he also pledges a term limit for himself of three terms unless he becomes a congressional committee chairman, and then limits himself to five terms. He says he will reach out to the district on advice from both Democrats and Republicans for his votes on different bills.

While he’s not for mandatory vaccinations or passports for the general public, he does think it’s ok for the military even though he “hates [that] the commander-and-chief put them in that position…When you took that oath to support and defend the Constitution from enemies both foreign and domestic…I don’t think you get a choice anymore.” 

Asked what he saw as the greatest need for the district, he said, “Each county is different. Far western counties are medical and infrastructure facilities…The money they get is woefully short of what the big counties get. He also talked about reimbursement for the fire departments for conducting search and rescue activities on federal land and retirements for non-municipality fire departments. He’s also pro-Second Amendment and pro-life.

Personal History

Honeycutt retired as a colonel after starting out in 1984 as a private. He was a George C. Marshall cadet. A graduate of Erwin High School Class of 1983, Honeycutt married a cheerleader from North Buncombe after seeing her in the Bi-Lo he was working. “I’m bagging groceries lane one, a girl’s coming down lane four. I fight three bagboys to get to her. I carry her groceries. We’re still married 35 years later.”

The 14th comprises the far most western counties of the state, including Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Macon, Swain, Jackson, Transylvania, Haywood, Henderson, Buncombe, Madison, Yancey, Mitchell, Avery and parts of Watauga. To find out more about Honeycutt, go to, contact (828)-275-6848 or email

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