Two GOP gubernatorial candidates outlined their visions for Tennessee during the annual Lincoln Day Dinner.
U.S. Rep Zach Wamp and Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam each shared with the crowd of about 550 Republican voters why they should be the choice on Aug. 5.
With the state in a $1.5 billion budget hole, unemployment in the double digits and public education ranking in the bottom 10 states, Mr. Haslam said Tennessee’s next governor has many challenges. But he says his experience in business and as a mayor positions him for the task.
“The answer’s not an income tax, it’s not raising the sales tax,” Mr. Haslam said. “The only answer is to shrink government.”
Mr. Haslam gave the crowd four promises — to act as a steward to the state’s taxpayer dollars, bring more jobs to Tennessee, push for education reform and uphold values such as the sanctity of life and marriage.
Rep. Wamp said he is running because “our country is going in the wrong direction,” and it “won’t change from the top-down, but from the bottom-up.” To do that, he told the crowd, Tennessee needs a leader to “invest in the future of our state.”
A straw poll was held, and Rep. Wamp received about 77 percent of the votes.
Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, R-Blountville, did not attend because of his daughter’s wedding.
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Brittany Cofer is a business reporter who has been with the Chattanooga Times Free Press since January 2010. She previously worked as a general assignment Metro reporter. In the Business department, she covers banking, retail, tourism, consumer issues and green issues. Brittany is from Conyers, Ga., and spent two years at Kennesaw State University in Kennesaw, Ga., before transferring to the University of Georgia. She graduated from the university’s Grady College of Journalism in December ...