A week from today, Wilson County voters will make some hard decisions at the polls as we elect a new governor, two Congressional representatives, a state senator, two state representatives and members of city government in Lebanon, Mt. Juliet and Watertown.
The Lebanon Democrat has tried to keep the voters as informed as possible throughout this election year through two special sections, countless articles and either a forum or debate for every election, except the two Congressional races, and that wasn’t for lack of trying, but rather the inability to coordinate schedules.
Today, we offer you our thoughts on who we feel will best serve Wilson County in the coming years as governor, members of the U.S. House of Representatives and state senator.
Throughout both the primary and general election, Knoxville Mayor and Republican candidate Bill Haslam has struck The Democrat as being pragmatic and a decision maker.
Haslam faces a daunting task as Tennessee’s next governor – balancing a budget that is filled with federal one-time money and working with both parties in what often times is a hostile environment between Republicans and Democrats in the General Assembly.
However, his experience as Knoxville’s mayor should serve him well. His record shows he knows how to balance a budget, lower a government’s debt and cut property tax rates.
We must admit that his campaign’s refusal to release his income from his family’s oil company Pilot Corp. or his net worth bothers us, because we believe government officials – and government itself – should be more transparent, not occluded.
Still, he has come across as one who will carefully evaluate state government’s operations before making a move. As he states in one of his commercials, “What’s the first question a governor should ask about any state program? …Should the state be doing this?” If Haslam follows his own words during the next four years, and can work with both parties, we believe we will see a leaner state government in four years.
Overall, we feel there is no better choice for Tennessee’s next governor than Bill Haslam.
U.S. Representative District 5
Current Democrat incumbent Jim Cooper betrayed his constituents when he abandoned his Blue Dog Democrat principals of being fiscally conservative and instead voted for bailouts, Obamacare and the Cap and Trade bills even after telling The Democrat that he would not.
As a result, we endorse his Republican opponent David Hall. As Hall notes on his website, “ Those in government must learn again, or for the first time, how to live within their means. … history supports my belief that prosperity hinges on economic liberty. Most attempts to regulate private activity, as well every attempt to tax private activity, are a drag on the economy.” We agree.
A proponent of less government interference, Hall also believes that control of education decisions need to revert back to local control and to the states, “where they can more effectively address the unique needs of their particular student groups.”
The bottom line is this: Cooper has been in Washington too long and is out of touch with the people he represents. It’s time for someone with some common sense and an understanding of what it is like to live in today’s economy to represent us in Washington. Therefore, we endorse David Hall.
U.S. Representative District 6
With Rep. Bart Gordon’s decision not to seek re-election, the field became open for this congressional seat. We endorse Diane Black, the Republican candidate, for Tennessee’s 6th District.
Black, a nurse by profession with 40 years of experience as well as small business owner, recognizes that we need less government intrusion in our lives – both professionally and personally.
She has stood up to members of her own party and has pledged to work toward changing the mentality in Congress by reminding “ those who have been elected to office that they are there to represent their constituents and not special interests.” Black pledges to work toward an end to congressional pensions and a constitutional amendment imposing term limits.
Regarding health care, she has pledged to “work with my colleagues to implement commonsense, bipartisan reform that will lower health care costs and improve the delivery of health care to all Americans.”
We endorse Republican candidate Diane Black as Tennessee’s next U.S. Representative for the Sixth District.
State Senate District 17
From the very beginning, let us be clear: We do not agree with the way state Sen. Mae Beavers (R-Mt. Juliet) entered the race for re-election to her State Senate District 17 seat.
We feel she misled voters both in Wilson County and the other counties in District 17, as well as the other candidates for both offices who had been running for months, when she waited until the ninth hour to announce she was dropping her bid for Wilson County Mayor to seek re-election.
However, that said, we cannot ignore the fact that Beavers has been a consistent, fiscally-conservative voice in the General Assembly for the past eight years, and for that, she deserves to be re-elected.
She was a major leader in the fight to stop the passage of a state income tax. She also sponsored and passed the only sales tax reduction in recent history resulting in lower sales tax on food.
As chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, she has worked to create more transparency among trial judges’ records for the public, and we applaud her for this.
We also applaud her for her tough stand on illegal immigration, saying that “it is no longer even a question about the legality of immigration, but a matter of economic survival for the legal citizens of Tennessee and the United States.”
We agree with her stance that the federal government has over-reached its constitutional boundaries, and we feel that Sen. Mae Beavers should be returned to the state Senate to fight against such encroachment and to be a fiscally conservative voice against wasteful spending in the state budget.