Monday, June 21, 2010

My Endorsements for Tennessee Legislative Races

Over the past ten years, I've worked on behalf of several candidates at the national, state and local level. I'm very particular about who I choose to work and vote for. This year, I'm endorsing/supporting four candidates: Susan Lynn, Heather Scott,Tim Burchett, and Carl Whitaker.

I first heard about Susan Lynn in 2002 from a fellow libertarian Heather Scott when both of them were running for office (Susan for State Representative; Heather for Wilson County Commission).

Susan has demonstrated an independent streak in the legislature. She is one of the most open legislators who is active on Facebook, maintains her own blog and regularly sends out newsletters. Lynn has used her position to advance the issue of state sovereignty and led an effort in the House to protect Tennesseans from having to conform to the new federal health care law, an effort that failed in the House but nevertheless bolstered Lynn’s reputation as a Tenth Amendment advocate. She is chairman of the House Government Operations Committee, and serves on the Calendar & Rules and Commerce Committees as well as the Small Business Sub-Committee. She has been Chairman of the Commerce Task Force for the American Legislative Exchange Council since 2007.

With an out of control federal government running amok, principled legislators are needed more than ever and principled legislators are hard to find at all levels. Susan is one of a few.

Heather Scott who is running for the 57th District which is occupied by Lynn says she’s seen how programs come down from the state and federal government that may or may not be right for a particular county, yet local governments have to enact them and cover the costs that come with them.

She recalled how a couple of years ago the Wilson County school system needed $1.5 million and that it looked like a tax increase could be involved. But she looked at the schools’ budget and saw an undesignated fund balance of $3 million. When she pointed out the schools had the money they needed, she learned the schools were required by the state to keep 3 percent in an undesignated fund balance for emergencies, so the commission, without her support, voted for a tax increase.

“It’s a trickle-down effect. Government should be strongest at the local level. More tax dollars should be kept at the local level. We send our income tax to Washington then have to beg for it to come back to local communities, and then they usually have strings attached. That money should never leave our community in the first place.” Scott said.

Scott said the election laws in the state are set up in a way that make it difficult for a third-party candidate to run (such as not being listed by the party name unless it is Democrat or Republican), so she opted for the independent tag.

Tim Burchett is running for Knox County Mayor which has been occupied by Mike Ragsdale. I've known Tim for ten years. He has served admirably in the state legislature and even sponsored legislation in 2000 to allow the TN Libertarian Party to run under its own party name basically as an experimental concept. Over the years, he has shown to be an open and independent minded legislator who isn't afraid to upset the apple cart when necessary. He has been a small business owner and this experience has helped him to understand the issues that they deal with particularly in relation to government matters.

The Knox County government has been in need of a major housecleaning for years and the County Mayor's office most of all. I will just say that the office has been operated by politics as usual. The good ole boy and girl network has hamstrung the county with bloated budgets, wasted millions of dollars for pet projects doled out to friends and family, and vendettas against those who oppose such waste and mismanagement. Clearly what is needed most of all aside from a new direction in policy is honesty and efficiency.

I'm generally not impressed with the candidates that the GOP and Democrat party have to offer in the 2010 Gubernatorial race. So I'm supporting Carl Twofeathers Whitaker independent campaign for governor. He has never held public office before, so there isn't much to elaborate on as far as what he has done as a public official. I also have the impression he isn't interested in a professional career in politics which always ranks as a plus in my book. He isn't connected to the power brokers that generally comes with being a legislator and will exercise independent judgment.

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