Republican Lt. Governor-hopeful Twinkle Andress Cavanaugh is no stranger to state politics and getting things done. She currently serves the people of Alabama as President of the Public Service Commission. Over the past six years, she has “rightsized” the PSC and reduced overall spending by 30 percent. This has saved the taxpayers over $50 million and will continue to save our state over $10 million annually.
Prior to her time at the PSC, she was the first female Chairman of the Alabama Republican Party back in 2005. Now she’s one of three Republicans running for Lieutenant Governor. She hopes to lead the charge to restore the state’s image and elevate Alabama into a land of opportunity for generations to come.
While some voters know much about the office of Lieutenant Governor, current Gov. Kay Ivey attributes her time in the position as what prepared her to take over the Governorship last April. As written in state law, the Lieutenant Governor is the President of the Senate and is entitled to vote in the event of a tie, much like that of the Vice President of the United States. They are also vested with certain prescribed legislative duties, powers, and responsibilities.
Here Cavanaugh is in her own words:
- Significant other? Kids? I’m married to Jeff Cavanaugh, a veterinarian. We have three children and two grandchildren. We are active members of First Baptist Church in Montgomery, where we teach Sunday School and Jeff serves as a Deacon.
- Education background? Professional background? I graduated from Jefferson Davis High School and then Auburn University, where I earned my bachelor’s degree in biology and my teaching certificate.
- What was your first job? I got my first job working at a local Bojangles’ in high school. My first job after graduating from Auburn was teaching at Houston Hills Junior High School in downtown Montgomery.
- In 25 words or less, why are you running for office? I’m running for Lt. Governor to cut the size of state government, fight for our conservative way of life, and to help build a brighter Alabama for our children and grandchildren.
- Did you speak with anybody in your political party before deciding on running? Receive any encouragement? From whom? I spoke with my family before deciding to run, and we took a close look at everything involved. After prayer, discussion, and doing our homework, I know that I can make a significant positive impact on our state as Lt. Governor. I have been blessed to serve at the Public Service Commission and strongly believe that I have more to offer my fellow Alabamians. My family has been so encouraging throughout my time in public service, and I could truly not do it without their constant love and support.
- Who do you count on for advice? First and foremost, I pray for guidance. My family also serves as an important sounding board. When it comes to specific issues that pop up in state government, I like to hear from the relevant stakeholders and hear all sides. That’s the best way to find comprehensive, measured solutions to the very real challenges facing our state.
- Who is your political consultant? Campaign manager? Randy Hinaman is my campaign’s general consultant.
- Who was the first person to contribute to your campaign? Why did they donate? Several individuals sent me a check the very first day of fundraising back in June of 2017. I’ve been blessed by strong grassroots supporters for years, and I’m proud to have tried and true conservatives fighting alongside me.
- Who, if anyone, inspires you in state government? Ronald Reagan was the person who really first inspired me to get involved in conservative causes; Chuck Colson (founder of Prison Fellowship) has also been a motivating figure to me. As far as state government goes, I have had the privilege of working with so many tremendous state employees who go above and beyond to serve the people of our great state. State government could not function without the tireless dedication of everyday men and women across Alabama.
- Why do people mistrust elected officials and what are you going to do about it? We are sick and tired of being embarrassed by elected officials. Year after year, negative surprises keep popping up. These are the things that make national news and sully our state’s image. We can and we must do better. I’m running for Lt. Governor because I believe Alabama’s brightest days can be ahead of us with proven conservative leaders at the helm. We can be the envy of the South and a beacon for the rest of the nation. It all starts with restoring trust in state government. I want to lead the charge in doing a full audit of state spending and find out how we can right-size agencies across the board like we have done at the Public Service Commission. One of the best things elected officials can do to restore people’s faith in them is to prove that our tax dollars are being spent efficiently and prudently.
- What are 3 issues that you’re running on? (Please don’t simply say “education” or “improving the schools”)
- First, we must continue investing in pre-K and early elementary education while at the same time giving our children a strong finish. For some of our students, that means a college degree from one of our world-class colleges or universities, but for many, it means getting a technical certification or job training. Workforce development programs, technical schools, public-private partnerships, and dual enrollment programs with local community colleges will prepare our children for good, high-paying jobs and make Alabama an attractive place to start or grow a business. The bottom line is that each child should be equipped for and allowed to choose his or her own path to success.
- Second, we need to fix Alabama’s infrastructure. Infrastructure is the backbone of commerce. So many of our roads and river ways need work. And it is our duty to provide job creators with high speed connectivity, low-cost electricity, and a dependable network of roads, bridges, and waterways, so they can thrive and create new jobs.
- Third, we need regulatory reform. Government doesn’t create jobs, businesses do. So, government needs to get “out of the way” and let job creators do what they do best. State government needs to start moving at the speed of business and end burdensome regulations. The Trump Administration has done a great job so far on the federal level with ending job-killing policies, and it’s time to do a full overhaul on the state level.
- What is a “disruptive” issue (i.e. ride-sharing) you are interested in? Continuing improvement and expansion of broadband connectivity, including wireless, fiber, and 5G infrastructure.
- Who was the best governor in Alabama’s modern history? Lurleen Wallace has inspired me since I was a little girl. Her work to increase access to mental healthcare is a vision that we must look to today- we’re faced with a crisis in mental health in our state that ties in directly with our opioid and prison crises.
- Are yard signs an important part of campaigning in your district? Absolutely. I call them the “flowers of democracy” that seem to only bloom right before elections.
- What’s the first thing you read each morning? The Bible, followed by a daily devotional.
- Where do you get your political news? Fox News
- 60 Minutes or House of Cards? Neither; in our house if the TV isn’t on Fox News, it’s only because the local news is on or there’s a college football game on.
- Social media presence? Twitter handle? I’m on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram: @TwinkleforAL
- In 140 characters, what’s a Tweet that best describes your campaign message. “One of my favorite parts of the campaign trail is meeting so many families across our state! This election is all about them. #ForABrighterAlabama”
- Hobbies? My “hobbies” are really whatever my daughter’s current hobbies are; right now we’re focused on gymnastics, swim team, and cheerleading to name just a few.
- Favorite sport and sports team? Definitely college football. We’re blessed with the best teams in the country right here in Alabama.
With less than 24 hours to go until voters head to the ballots for the June 5 primary elections, AlabamaToday.com is inviting all candidates running for office in Alabama this year, to complete a questionnaire we believe offers an interesting, albeit, thumbnail sketch of who they are and why they are running no later than 8 p.m. Monday to be included in our special Election Day coverage Tuesday morning. If you are a candidate and would like to complete the questionnaire, email Elizabeth@ALToday.com.