Voters' guide to the 2012 election

Voters' guide to the 2012 election

November 6th, 2012 in Opinion Free Press

Over the past few weeks, the Free Press editorial page endorsed a number of candidates for federal, state and local offices that are contested in today's election. As a service to this page's readers, we compiled these endorsements in the hopes of helping voters make informed decisions in the voting booth.

FEDERAL ELECTIONS

PRESIDENT

Gary Johnson

A former two-term governor of New Mexico, Johnson pledges to present a balanced budget to Congress, completely overhaul America's ridiculous federal tax structure and fundamentally restructure entitlement programs to allow Americans more choice in health care and a greater opportunity to retire with dignity.

The threads that bind Johnson's policy platform are the beliefs that markets work better than governments and that people are more suitable and equipped than elected officials and bureaucrats to make the decisions that impact their lives and the lives of their family. As a result, Johnson promotes entrepreneurship and privatization, allowing parents the opportunity to choose which school their children attend and minimizing the amount of hard-earned dollars the federal government takes from taxpayers.

U.S. SENATE

Bob Corker

During his tenure, Corker has grown to become one of the most fiscally responsible members of the United States Senate. Corker is one of the Senate's leading lights for fiscal solvency, and he is a champion for reducing the national debt and reining in untenable entitlement programs. Additionally, his commitment to learning the issues and studying legislation is second to none.

U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

Tennessee District 3:

Chuck Fleischmann

Fleischmann has compiled a very strong limited government voting record. The congressman voted against Obama-care, and votes to repeal it at every opportunity. He voted to defund NPR, trim congressional office budgets by 5 percent and expand responsible offshore energy exploration. Fleischmann consistently stands up for free market, limited government legislation. He has pledged not to vote for any tax increases.

Tennessee District 4:

Eric Stewart

Stewart's belief in an expansive, expensive government that interferes in the lives of individuals and intervenes in the operation of businesses is clear and undeniable, despite his claims of fiscal responsibility. Still, Stewart is a more acceptable candidate, and a human being, to represent the people of the 4th District than incumbent Scott DesJarlais.

If DesJarlais is returned to Congress, it sets the precedent that candidates can enjoy the benefits that come with running on a set of conservative principles, even if they don't actually believe them or espouse them in their own lives.

STATE ELECTIONS

TENNESSEE STATE SENATE

District 10: Todd Gardenhire

Gardenhire's political decision making will be informed by his Reaganesque beliefs about individual responsibility and reducing the power of government. As a result, he can quickly become a valuable voice in the state Senate for the issues he cares about most, such as technical and vocational education, trimming regulations on businesses and working to restrain spending to lower taxes.

TENNESSEE STATE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

District 27: Johnny Horne

Voters of the 27th District must face the reality that, in the Republican-controlled Tennessee General Assembly, Democrats don't have much of a voice. Plagued with issues of unemployment, crime, education and poverty, few districts need an advocate in Nashville more than the 27th. As a moderate Republican, Horne, a Vietnam War hero, preacher and community activist, can provide that much-needed voice in the State Capitol for the residents of the 27th District.

District 28: Richard Floyd

Floyd has a track record of working to reduce regulations on small businesses, and he has pledged to work with other lawmakers to exempt Tennessee from as many oppressive Obamacare mandates as possible. As a state representative, Floyd has consistently voted to empower parents with the right to decide how best to educate their children. He also clearly understands that Tennessee has weathered the economic downturn better than most states as a result of its low taxes and right-to-work policies.

District 30: Vince Dean

Since former East Ridge mayor and retired police officer Vince Dean was selected to fill the District 30 seat in the Tennessee House of Representatives, he has become one of the most popular, most effective members in the Tennessee General Assembly.

Dean understands that government doesn't create jobs. His recipe for encouraging job growth relies on the time-tested formula of maintaining low taxes while reducing regulatory burdens and unnecessary environmental restrictions.

LOCAL ELECTIONS

EAST RIDGE MUNICIPAL

City Council Members: Marc Gravitt

East Ridge, with its boarded-up storefronts and high unemployment, is in dire need of quality leadership to help turn the city around. Only one of the seven candidates running for the two seats available on the East Ridge City Council has a clear plan to facilitate economic growth, improve run-down areas of town and make the city a more vibrant, livable community. That candidate is Marc Gravitt.

SIGNAL MOUNTAIN MUNICIPAL

Town Council Members: Joe Dumas and Bill Wallace

In recent years, Signal Mountain residents have seen their taxes climb and town spending skyrocket. The primary concern of Signal Mountain voters should be to elect a more sensible, accountable Town Council.

Joe Dumas, a UTC faculty member and 20-year Signal Mountain resident, has been a tireless local voice for responsible government and low taxes. Every council, commission and legislature needs a member who is committed, above all else, to ensure that tax dollars are well-spent and government is limited to its core functions. Dumas should be that person for Signal Mountain.

Council member Bill Wallace, who was elected to the Town Council in late 2010, has been the council's most dependable vote for a leaner government. Wallace opposed the recent tax hike scheme and pledges to work to increase revenues by growing the tax base and encouraging the growth of new business, rather than through tax increases.

SEQUATCHIE COUNTY REFERENDUM

Half-Cent Sales Tax Increase

(Resolution 632): Against

After seeing a half-cent sales tax increase defeated in February, Sequatchie County leaders are back at it, pushing again for a half-cent sales tax hike. If the county faced a revenue problem, the calls for a tax increase might be justified. The truth is, however, that the county faces a spending problem. The county's general fund expenditures increased by $201,330 -- or 9.5 percent -- in the past year, while inflation over the same time was less than 2.9 percent.

The bloated Sequatchie County budget is filled with dozens of opportunities for county leaders to trim careless and unnecessary spending. Until issues of excess spending are addressed, it's a slap in the face of taxpayers to ask them to supply county leaders with even more tax dollars to waste.