Johnson City Press: Letters: See through the political muck

Letters: See through the political muck

Johnson City Press • Jul 28, 2018 at 6:00 AM

Want to have your voice heard? Send a Letter to the Forum. Authors must sign their letters and include addresses and phone numbers for verification. Letters may be no longer than 300 words and will be edited for grammar, style and length. Send your submission to Mailbag, P.O. Box 1717, Johnson City, TN 37605-1717 or [email protected].

See through the political muck

On Monday night, I voted against the new district attorney’s office space because it happened too fast, there wasn’t enough transparency in the process, we’re still paying on the debt from the justice center, the new space is not in the budget and it seems expensive. Although I recognize conditions are cramped in the current office space, sometimes we just can’t afford everything we want when we want it, as most household budgets can attest.

As Budget Committee chair, I did not cast a vote on the proposal until it came before the full commission when I joined the nine “no” votes. Otherwise, I had no involvement in the process.

Unfortunately, facts don’t seem to be getting in the way of tabloid-style accusations. Most voters I’m hearing from are growing tired of the steady stream of sloppy attacks and unhinged conspiracy theories coming from Taxpayer’s Fighting Back and their relentless character assassination campaign. They see “political payback” under every rock and criminality around every corner, and they smear local job creators as “special interests” while calling for more construction projects and more government spending. I hope we can all come together after this election around a positive vision for the long-term finances of our county.


Lee is best for governor

The race for governor of Tennessee is between strong, qualified candidates: U.S. Congressman Diane Black, Randy Boyd, a millionaire businessman and former economic commissioner for the current governor, Beth Harwell, the speaker of the Tennessee House of Representatives, and Bill Lee, a seventh-generation Tennessean and businessman. Out of all of them, Bill Lee is the candidate that most resembles the character of Tennessee and who would make the best governor for our state.

All the candidates are exceptional. They have what it takes to be a great governor. Sadly, the leading candidates, Black and Boyd, have resorted to running presidential-like campaigns highlighting national issues like immigration and the border. They paint their rivals in a false narrative approaching character assassination. Boyd’s ads paint Diane Black as “D.C. Diane,” a politician who opposes the Trump agenda, and who “is out for herself.” He maintains a website alleging these mischaracterizations. He funds another site bashing Bill Lee for past political donations and for his support for immigrant advocacy groups. Diane Black is no better on negative ads. She claims Randy Boyd is a job creator for China, not Tennessee. She is wrong. Boyd outsourced work to China because of global interconnectedness, but the majority of his employees are Tennesseans.

Bill Lee is the only viable candidate to stay on his own message and image. Instead of talking about opponents’ stances, past or loyalty to Trump, he’s campaigned on his own history, dedication to service, and qualifications for leadership. He has his own unique positions, especially on criminal-justice reform, that are not shared by his rivals. His purpose is giving back, not being a politician. The August 2 Republican primary ballot has several good candidates for governor, but Bill Lee is the best one.


Bredesen’s big on broadband

Former Governor Phil Bredesen has a plan to renew the TVA’s charter to include a mandate to expand broadband access throughout Tennessee. Already providing telephone and electricity service throughout the region, broadband access has become an essential utility in today’s increasingly globalized marketplace. Without access to the internet, Tennessee businesses cannot compete. The TVA is uniquely positioned, given its history and infrastructure reach across the region, to take on this broadband expansion.

This isn’t about big government, it’s about big ideas. Tennessee’s and surrounding states’ economies will be able to sustain business in the modern era while also providing jobs to Tennesseans working for the TVA. This is also an opportunity for East Tennessee, currently far behind in rural broadband development, to lead the state, the region, and the country in accessible, affordable internet service.

Mr. Bredesen’s independent thinking as governor brought dividends for our state. It’s clear he will do it again as our next U.S. Senator.


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