U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander visited Wilson County on Wednesday where he spoke at a “lunch and learn” sponsored by the Lebanon-Wilson County Chamber of Commerce at the Capitol Theatre.
Alexander spoke to a group of city officials, as well as community and business leaders, on recent issues the country has faced and his future plans.
When asked about the situation in Syria, Alexander said the situation was “disgusting,” but the next steps of action were unclear to him.
“We abhor the use of chemical weapons. Using poison gas is an abhorring, disgusting act,” Alexander said. “But there are ways, some military, some not, to show our disgust without running certain risks.”
Alexander said when it came to attacking Syria he needed more information.
“I want to know what are the consequences for striking Syria?” Alexander said. “I don’t want to vote for anything that involves long-term American involvement in the Middle East.”
However, Alexander said his mind was not made up on the solution.
“I think I owe it to the president to listen to what he has to say. To me, I just am looking for what happens in the next steps, steps 2, 3, 4 and 5. What are the repercussions? Does a strike do more harm than good?”
Alexander also discussed a new piece of legislation he and U.S. Rep. Stephen Fincher will introduce to Congress when they return to session next week.
The legislation will help protect taxpayers from abuse by the Internal Revenue Service.
“It says to the IRS if you’re going to look at someone’s tax returns you have to let them know ahead of time, and you have to let them know why,” Alexander said.
Alexander said the IRS has violated First Amendment rights of groups, including Tennessee Tea Party groups, when accessing their information.
“The IRS has abused conservative groups mainly, but it could be against anyone in the future, and that goes against the character of this country,” Alexander said. “The first right we have is to speak and be free from a tyrannical government.”
Alexander said to him this was an important piece of legislation.
“We’re going to say to the IRS that if they want to know about our tax returns, they’ve got to let us know about it first,” Alexander said. “They have to notify in writing who and what they are looking at and why.”
Alexander ended his talk by saying it was a privilege and a great honor for him to be able to serve in the Senate.
“This government works in remarkable ways, and I get up every morning hoping I can do something to make this country a little stronger, and I go to bed most nights thinking that I have,” Alexander said.