With just under 40 days to the Tennessee Senate Primary (8/7/08) the race is starting to see signs of life. Candidates Mike Padgett and Bob Tuke have their online presence going. Both are actually sending emails out, every other day or so. That’s good stuff. As far as issues go, well, I haven’t been able to get that far into the sites, but I’m getting there.
One thing is for sure, if Tennessee Democrats hope to even have a chance at taking THIS Senate seat, we better get off our checkbooks.
It doesn’t matter how favorable the circumstances are for us in November if we get outspent 6:1.
Money’s not the only issue here. Lamar! is a generally popular statewide candidate, though his popularity has been slipping as the Republican brand has taken on some tarnish…but where has he been? Maybe I read the wrong paper (probably) but aside from a speech back on the 9th about an “Energy Manhattan Project” Lamar!’s been pretty quiet.
As far as I’m concerned, Lamar!’s got some splainin’ to do. Tennessee ranks 11th per capita in home foreclosures. In 2007 nearly 46,000 households were displaced as the result of foreclosure, that’s a 65% increase from 2005. (Source)
Transportation is a huge industry in Tennessee. I-40 is one of the busiest corridors for coast to coast travel. The Tennessee portion of I-40 accounts for 18% of it’s total distance (Source). Unusually high Diesel prices threaten the economic security of not only the owner-operators traveling I-40 and other highways, but the communities that serve the trucking industry, farmers, and consumers who are now paying significantly higher prices for goods.
Diesel, which until Hurricane Katrina, enjoyed parity, if not lower prices than Unleaded, now costs anywhere from $4.25-$4.50/gal. Oil companies like Exxon Mobil are returning profits of 10%/quarter on the backs of these small business people. What has Lamar! done, called for increased fuel economy by 2020, plug-in hybrids, and propose more drilling (Source). All three of these are real, long term solutions (though I don’t agree with the Alaska portion of the drilling), but don’t address the immediate problem of price gouging by big oil, particularly on Diesel. Lamar! says that falls on the state Attorney Generals, not the Federal Government. Ever heard of the FTC? Thanks.
Then there’s the healthcare cluster. For folks living in rural areas, access to healthcare is getting further out of reach. Rural healthcare givers have huge hurdles, from increased medicare reporting with decreased federal contributions to a dwindling population that can no longer afford care until it’s an emergency. The Lamar! solution, Tort reform. Genius!
Folks, that’s just the beginning. I’ll have more on Lamar! later, but the truth of the matter is that Tennessee can’t afford 6 more years of Lamar!. I’ll announce my pick for the Democratic nomination (not that any of you really care) in the next week or so.