published Wednesday, May 16th, 2012

Bill Taylor describes Southern Democrat values

  • photo
    Bill Taylor is a Democratic candidate for Tennessee's 3rd Congressional District.
    Photo by Tim Barber /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

The Southern Democrat respects his parents and so fights for Social Security, 3rd Congressional District candidate Bill Taylor said.

As sportsmen, they act as stewards of the environment, and because they believe in fair play, they "despise corporate excess."

Taylor discussed his stances Tuesday night before two dozen members of the Hixson Kiwanis Club, noting that after a contentious Republican primary for incumbent Chuck Fleischmann's seat, voters upset that their candidate lost can turn to him, should he win the Democratic primary.

"I'm a moderate alternative they can feel good voting for," he said.

Portraying himself as a man of action, Taylor touched on Congress' recent discussions on raising the debt ceiling while constituents were left to wonder whether their Social Security checks would arrive on time.

"The debt ceiling talks were ridiculous," he told the crowd. "We made ourselves look like idiots to the rest of the world."

If federal money already has been spent, Congress needed to focus on helping citizens and moving forward rather than wringing its hands on credit ratings, he added.

His speech focused on three major issues -- health care, taxes and job growth.

"The number one priority in this district is creating good, sustainable jobs," he said. "What there's a huge need for in this county is federal contracts."

He said the best way to introduce new jobs to the area is through federal projects such as completing the Chickamauga Lock. He added that 21 percent of Tennessee bridges are in need of repair, as well. Fixing infrastructure would put Tennesseans to work and improve services for other businesses in the area, he said.

Attendees said that they were impressed by Taylor's pledge to work with both parties to pass legislation.

"I like the fact that he said he could reach across the aisle," said club President Geoff Holden, who described the Hixson Kiwanis Club as "somewhat right of center" and "majority Republican."

Discussing the president's and vice president's recent support of gay marriage, Taylor said after the meeting, "I'm all about people making their own decisions about their own private lives."

Taylor's biggest challenge may be securing the funds necessary to get his message out. As of March 31, he had a little more than $4,000 on hand after raising about $21,000. Collectively, the four Republicans in the race had $1.6 million in the bank at the end of March.

"We can win this election on less than $40,000," Taylor said.

Maynardville, Tenn., physician Mary Headrick is Taylor's competition in the 3rd District Democratic race. Ron Bhalla, Scottie Mayfield and Weston Wamp are challenging Fleischmann in the GOP primary. Independent Matthew Deniston also is running.

Staff writer Chris Carroll contributed to this report.

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