1. Moving our country into the future
Economic development of East Tennessee needs to emphasize manufacturing, tourism and support for TVA and the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Our East Tennessee manufacturing- and manufacturing throughout the entire United States-must be put on a “level playing field” in competing with foreign manufacturers who are not required to pay minimum wage, clean their environment, provide safe working conditions, pay for unemployment insurance and pay for workman’s compensation. Inappropriate development of resources cannot be allowed to diminish the attractiveness of East Tennessee to foreign and domestic tourists. TVA needs to get federal funding for non-power functions- as it did in the past. The Oak Ridge National Laboratory needs funding to aggressively do research and development on energy and nuclear options that may be needed in the near future.
Economic fairness is a problem in many societies with many prosperous countries having a large number of permanently impoverished citizens (Mexico is an example- they are trying to solve their problem by sending their poor people to our country). The widening gap in our country between rich and poor is controlled at the federal level by taxation- graduated income tax and inheritance tax. The Republicans have been reducing these taxes and have been moving our country toward a third world model- with a few extremely wealthy people and a large impoverished group of people. We need to look to the future and institute an intelligent tax policy, strengthen labor unions and keep high tech and manufacturing jobs in the United States.
2. The environment of East Tennessee – and the world.
Environmental degradation in East Tennessee is too obvious for argument. What is less obvious but potentially even more serious is the world environment- with carbon dioxide content of the atmosphere rising annually. The Bush administration has done everything possible to avoid facing environmental problems, but the problems are not going away and letting a Republican president and Republican congressmen (especially OUR current congressman) continue to stick our national head in the sand only means the problems will be much worse if we wait until the national Republicans finally wake up.
3. Limiting the number of terms U.S. Representatives spend in the House of Representatives.
East Tennessee- and the entire country – is not well served by having career politicians serving unending terms (even dynasties?) in the House of Representatives. The House of Representatives is the PEOPLES branch of government. It is meant to reflect the majority will- even if it is volatile and changing. Our current second district representative has served for 20 years and his father before him served 23 years. Even the Republicans — in the Newt Gingrich “Contract with America “ — called for a constitutional amendment which would limit U.S. Representatives to three terms !
When I asked for a nominating petition for US Representative, I was explaining to the clerk what I was running for and the light dawned in her eyes ” Oh, John Duncan’s seat”. Well might she call it that because she had never known any other name in the seat.