Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Addressing the concerns of a delegate

A 2nd District Republican Delegate posted some concerns yesterday, and I wanted to take the time to address those questions:

"How well would you work with Mayor Ragsdale? You appear to be associating yourself with his opponent's supporters. He is probably going to win reelection, and it is important to work productively with the county mayor's office to get things done."

I’ll be the first to agree that a good Commissioner has to work productively with the County Mayor. I believe very strongly that the vast majority of the time, Mayor Ragsdale and I would be able to work together on issues of concern to the 2nd District and to the entire county. The truth of the matter is that if I am elected, it will be my first term in public office. I can guarantee you that I will look to Mayor Ragsdale and others who’ve been around awhile for advice and guidance. That’s also one of the reasons I’ve been doing my best to hear what people around the district are saying about issues of concern to them, and talk to Republican delegates and others who are active in our party. I am under no illusions that I can do this alone.

"If you're going to be another Stacey Campfield, then you're going to be spinning your wheels trying to pass ordinances."

I consider Stacey a friend, and I have to be blunt about the fact that I wish that our party were filled with men and women like Stacey. I think he is a man of principle and he is not afraid to stand up for what he thinks is right. To Stacey, right is more important than winning, and I share that mentality. Like Stacey, I too have a set of principles that cannot be shaken.

However, I think Stacey Campfield himself might be the first to tell you that he and I do not see eye to eye on all things. For example, he is a big proponent of term limits, while I am passionately opposed to them. Indeed, were it up to me, it would not yet have been my time to run-I’d be voting to re-elect David Collins. The first reason I am running is so that people can vote for a Republican candidate May 2 and not waste their vote. I’m also running because I really do believe that we need bona fide conservatives at all levels of government, because that is how we are going to change our State and our Nation-it starts at the bottom. Finally, I am running out of a sincere desire to serve. As much as I enjoy the “political” element of a campaign, this isn’t all fun and games, especially this year. I wouldn’t dream of campaigning for office if I did not sincerely want to give of myself in service. I was never physically able to serve in the Army as my Dad and his Dad did-so this is a way for me to serve my community and my country.

"What is your view for Knox County's future? How would you address funding for education?"

I think we can all agree that funding our schools is probably the most important spending question the County regularly faces. Right now we’re paying a wheel tax to support our schools. At this point, I don’t know that we are in a position to change that, but there are many ways to pay for schools aside from the wheel tax, not just property taxes. If you can name a product or service, the County could have taxed that product or service as a means of funding.

That’s not to say I want to create a bunch of new taxes-on the contrary, I am loathe to support any sort of tax increase. I think, though, that when faced with something as important as the schools that the children of our community are educated in, we have to look at every option that is constitutionally available to us.

"Parks & Recreation? Services for senior citizens?"

You might be interested to know that I do not claim to have all of the answers to how we can better fund our parks or programs for Seasoned Citizens. But that’s exactly why I want to hear from people-As I begin to study our budget, I’d like to know if there is anything that can be done differently than is being done now-and if so, should we do that?

Quite a politically bold answer that basically says “I’m not sure,” so why would I say such a politically unadvisable thing? I don’t believe in giving constituents a line of BS-I’ll just tell the truth. If I don’t have an appropriate answer, I will not pretend as though I do. I want to have the answers, though, and I want people to share their ideas with me.

"Sorry to lay a lot of questions on you"

No apology is necessary. You are doing exactly what you ought to be doing. You would not be a good delegate if you failed to ask these kinds of questions.

"Simply being a conservative, pro-life republican isn't enough to get things done on a local level."

True enough-but I’d venture to say that having a liberal, so-called “pro-choice” Democrat like Mark Harmon is enough to get the wrong things done on a local level.

As for me associating with supporters of Mayor Ragsdale’s opponents-last time I checked, this was still a Republican Primary. I realize that Primary winner will likely face no opposition in August, but these are both our men. That’s exactly why I have made no public endorsement in the County Mayor’s race-each Republican is free to support his or her candidate of choice in a Primary, but when it is over, I believe we must come together and support the Republican nominee, whoever that person may be.

I am glad you posted. Please feel free to e-mail me privately, I’d be glad to talk.


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