Bradley County Sheriff Tim Gobble, a Republican candidate in Tennessee's 3rd District congressional race, pledged Wednesday to work to secure federal funding for construction of the Corrior K highway, completion of the Chickamauga lock and continued funding for the Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
Sheriff Gobble, a self-described fiscal and social conservative, said he will try to gain federal funding for key projects in East Tennessee even while he tries to limit overall federal spending.
"It's just incredible, the $13 trillion debt that the federal government has run up, and we need to work to bring that down over time and limit wasteful government spending," Sheriff Gobble told reporters and editors during a meeting of the Chattanooga Times Free Press editorial board. "But I do think the government plays a role in helping to stimulate the economy in terms of infrastructure and energy that will pay dividends for our people."
Sheriff Gobble said he opposed the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program that helped bail out some of the nation's biggest financial institutions in 2008 and said he also opposed President Barack Obama's health care reform plan adopted by Congress in March.
But as a former Cleveland city councilman and now sheriff, he said he has supported local projects such as the Chickamauga lock and the proposed Corridor K highway from Chattanooga to Asheville, N.C., to provide river and road transportation for job development.
Unlike some of his opponents, Sheriff Gobble said he isn't opposed to all congressional earmarks, especially those that may help vital local projects in Tennessee.
Sheriff Gobble sued the Bradley County government in 2007 after the County Commission cut his funding request by $3.9 million. He argued he needed more money for his staff and to buy new vehicles and equipment, but a judge rejected the sheriff's petition.
"Instead of ignoring problems like had been done in the past, I went to work to address these shortcomings," Sheriff Gobble said. "Although our lawsuit was not successful, we have made progress over time."
Sheriff Gobble said he is the only candidate in the 3rd District race who has experience in elected office and balancing budgets as a City Council member and as sheriff.
* Age: 46
* Occupation: Bradley County sheriff
* Fundraising: More than $100,000
3rd District Candidates
* Republicans: Tommy Crangle, Chuck Fleischmann, Tim Gobble, Harvey Howard, Jean Howard-Hill, Van Irion, Rick Kernea, Basil Marceaux Sr., Art Rhodes, Robin Smith, Grover Travillian
* Democrats: Alicia Mitchell, Brenda Freeman Short, Brent Davis Staton, John Wolfe
* Independents: Don Barkman, Mark DeVol, Gregory C. Goodwin, Robert Humphries, Mo Kiah, Savas T. Kyriakidis
* The primary election is Aug. 5
Source: Tennessee Department of State
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