Let your vote make a difference

Let your vote make a difference

August 7th, 2014 in Opinion Free Press

Free Press endorsements

In the Aug. 7 general election and Democratic primary, the Free Press endorses:

Governor: Bill Haslam

U.S. Senator: Lamar Alexander

3rd District Congress: Weston Wamp

27th District, State House: Patsy Hazlewood

County Mayor: Jim Coppinger

County Commission, District 1: Randy Fairbanks

County Commission, District 6: Joe Graham

County Commission, District 7: Sabrena Turner

County Commission, District 8: Kenny Smith

County Commission, District 9: Chester Bankston

General Sessions Court, Division 1: Christie Sell

Juvenile Court: Rob Philyaw

Public Defender: Steve Smith

Criminal Court Clerk: Gwen Tidwell

School Board, District 3: Greg Martin

School Board, District 5: Patrick Hampton

School Board, District 6: Ballard Scearce

School Board, District 8: David Testerman

School Board, District 9: Steve Highlander

Supreme Court Judges: Retain

Domestic Partners Ordinance: Against

Why vote?

Why, indeed? Vote, so you can have an influence on the type of people who sit in the governor's office, who make decisions for you in the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives and Tennessee General Assembly, who represent your district on the Hamilton County Commission, who represent you and and your children on the Hamilton County Board of Education, and who uphold justice in the halls of the Hamilton County Courthouse.

We should all want the best people in these positions, and it's up to us -- with our votes -- to make sure we get them. Don't miss out on your chance to make a difference.

In contested races in today's general election and Republican primary, the Chattanooga Free Press recommends:

U.S. Congress

If the last month has proven anything about the 3rd District GOP primary candidates, it is that incumbent Rep. Chuck Fleischmann doesn't believe his record is solid enough to run on. So, instead, he has tried to trash challenger Weston Wamp with a sickening litany of lies, half-truths and innuendos unbecoming of anyone running for public office.

We believe Wamp will offer a reliably conservative voting record in Washington, D.C., but also an ability to attract a new generation of voters to the party and an openness that at least fosters dialogue with all members of Congress to see where, if anywhere, there is agreement on issues important to the American people.

U.S. Senate

Incumbent Sen. Lamar Alexander is not a jimmy-come-lately to Tennessee and conservative values. As governor, as University of Tennessee president, as U.S. education secretary and as senator, he has tried to do the right thing by his native state. He is a leader in his party with solid Volunteer State values and a pragmatic senator who understands big issues are not solved with simple platitudes. We endorse his election to a third term.


Bill Haslam has a solid track record of moving Tennessee ahead on the education front and in securing new jobs for the state. We urge his re-election and continued work on finding the right health-care solutions for state residents who fall through the cracks.

State Representative

In District 27, we admire both Tommy Crangle and Patsy Hazlewood, but we believe Hazlewood's recent experience as regional director for the Tennessee Department of Economic Development and her wide circle of civic and community connections will serve her better in the General Assembly.

County Commission

We endorse the elections of Randy Fairbanks (District 1), Joe Graham (District 6), Sabrena Turner (District 7), Kenny Smith (District 8) and Chester Bankston (District 9) to give the body conservative fiscal leadership and the understanding that economic development and better education opportunities are key to the county's continued growth and success.

Board of Education

Nineteen dedicated Hamilton County residents stepped up to run for the job of shepherding area public schools, and the electorate is fortunate a solid majority of the candidates would make good school board members. In the various district races, however, we recommend Greg Martin (District 3), Patrick Hampton (District 5), Ballard Scearce (District 6), David Testerman (District 8) and Steve Highlander (District 9).


We believe incumbent judges Christie Mahn Sell (General Sessions Court), Rob Philyaw (Juvenile Court) and incumbent Criminal Court Clerk Gwen Tidwell deserve hearty re-elections. In the public defender's race, while we personally admire incumbent Ardena Garth, we believe that office needs new energy and direction and thus gladly endorse challenger Steve Smith.