Mark Meadows

On Capitol Hill, Freedom Caucus chairman Mark Meadows carries a reputation of a right-wing rebel — after he and his group of roughly three dozen hard-line House conservatives helped kill the Republican health care bill last month. But back home in his western North Carolina congressional district, Meadows is hailed a hero.

In this corner of Appalachia, poverty takes a back seat to art galleries, country clubs, golf course communities, five-star restaurants, and multimillion-dollar houses.

From this perch in Highlands, N.C., Congressman Mark Meadows, a real estate entrepreneur who capitalized on the area's transformation to a prosperous retirement and vacation community, rose to political power quickly. Now, Meadows leads the House Freedom Caucus, controlling about 30 votes and showing few qualms about endangering his party's best chance to repeal the Affordable Care Act.