CLEVELAND, Tenn. - They did not debate, but the Republican and Democratic candidates for the 3rd District congressional seat were campaigning for votes Thursday in the same room.
During a lunch meeting, Republican Chuck Fleischmann and Democrat John Wolfe took half-hour turns presenting the ideas they want to take to Washington, D.C., before members of Cleveland Associated Industries.
One of the four independent candidates in the Nov. 2 contest, Chattanooga restaurateur Savas Kyriakidis, was in the audience but not on the program.
KEY DATES BOX
* Oct. 4: Last day to register to vote in November election
* Oct. 13-28: Early voting
* Nov. 2: Election Day
Source: Tennessee Division of Elections
Wolfe told the group that federal government programs can be good for the area.
"I am pro-business," Wolfe said. "I think what we should do to promote small business is to give tax breaks to people who start new businesses, who want to put capital at risk."
Government, he said, should regulate business.
"We do need a strong regulatory force like the Securities and Exchange Commission, " he said. "The government still has to be an umpire. There has to be some check on greed. There has to be some check on environmental abuse."
Fleischmann arrived just as Wolfe was finishing his remarks. The men greeted each other and later shook hands.
"We are spending far, far too much money," Fleischmann told the group. "We are taxing too much. We are regulating too much.
"We have to make sure the federal government does not overreach as it is doing now," he said.
He called for a balanced-budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution, one modeled on Tennessee's law requiring the state to have a balanced budget. He said each federal government department should be audited, like businesses, to show efficiency or to reveal waste or fraud.
Earlier, Fleischmann met over breakfast with members of the Bradley County Republican Party. Asked why he and Wolfe have not debated, Fleischmann said Wolfe is a liberal and he is a conservative.
"There's not a whole lot to talk about," Fleischmann said.
But he pointed out that they jointly have attended many functions, such as Thursday's business leaders' luncheon.
Contact Randall Higgins at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-314-1029.
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