Gubernatorial candidates debate at Gatlinburg tea party

By: Sara Shookman Email
By: Sara Shookman Email

GATLINBURG, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Tea party participants in Gatlinburg got a close up look at seven candidates for our state’s highest office.

They aren't Republicans, Democrats or Independents. They're just concerned.
“We've come at it, 'The government's getting too big, are you going to protect us as a Tennessee state resident?’” said Leah Moore of Greeneville.

Tea partiers listened closely as gubernatorial hopefuls debated on stage Sunday. It's the issues that these voters say will earn their vote -- like jobs.

“We can grow our state's economy based on the strengths of limited governments. No state income tax. Right to work status. Pro-free enterprise,” said Republican candidate Congressman Zach Wamp, who currently represents Tennessee’s 3rd District.

“Our only choice is to shrink the size of the state government,” said Republican candidate Bill Haslam, mayor of Knoxville.

The four Republicans and three Independents discussed the Constitution.

“We've got to quit turning our back on God. We've got to quit turning our back on the constitution, and we can make the changes that we need,” said Dr. Brandon Dodds of Newburn, an Independent.
“Anyone who puts their hand on a bible and swears an oath to support and defend the Constitution, and doesn't do it is guilty of one of two things. Ignorance or treason,” said Republican candidate Joe Kirkpatrick of Nashville.

And whom they'll work to represent. “I'll take Democrat governors if they think like us, or Independents for that matter, to start pushing back on federal government and saying enough is enough,” said Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, another Republican candidate.

"But I'm tired of giving money to the King. I do intend to damage the revenue of the King,” said Samuel Duck, an Independent.

“The laws for illegal aliens. Maybe a little bit tougher. Maybe there is less incentive to come here,” said Bayron Binkley, an Independent candidate.

Immigration, education and health care reform were all hot topics. Some said a clear winner never emerged, but many said they'll support one of these men to the finish.

“It's a strong field, and I don't think there's a question that one of those people up there is going to be governor,” said voter Glen Ellington of Jefferson City.


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  • by Barbie Location: Seymour on Jul 2, 2010 at 10:11 AM
    Mary, let's start with doing away with the overpaid and unnecessary government positions, starting with the "Czars", cut out all of the pork barrel spending that is easily identified year after year, and then abolish the IRS. In response to the liberals' endlessly gripes that the rich don't pay their fair share in taxes, a set sales tax (instead of income taxes) would ensure that the wealthy, the poor and the illegals alike would all pair taxes equally--based on how much they buy. Additionally, think of all the money that would be saved by not footing the payroll for all those governemtn tax offices, tax investigators, tax attorneys, and tax judges!
  • by Mark Location: Memphis, TN on Jun 11, 2010 at 02:02 PM
    Simple, the part that is already theirs; that portion which is given to government then being squandered and misused. Surely you are not ignorant of the waste in the departments of government you mention, if so, you have fooled yourself. Not all of us are so easily fooled into believing government is a "well oiled machine" with no need for checks and balances. If we the people do not stand to oppose waste, who will, government? Get real... If you're so sold on big gov, why not double or triple your amount you pay in to them? Put your money where your mouth is! Oh wait, you're a liberal; you want to put OTHER people's money where YOUR mouth is! You should understand that your sense of entitlement is a form of slavery to your fellow Americans. You say "Give back" and "take away", as though YOU already own what belongs to OTHERS. Start thinking like the slave that you are to government, and fight to take back freedoms that others have given away in the name of security...
  • by Mary Location: Knoxville on May 25, 2010 at 05:22 AM
    I just have one question: What part of the Federal government do all these Yae Hoos want to do away with? Funding for Public Education? Fire and Police Protection? Social Security? Medicare? Home Land Security to "keep us safe"? Funding for infrastructure...roads, bridges? Even Haslam wants to take away public school funding and create private schools so only the wealthy can get decent education for our children! I want details. Just what part of what the Federal Government do these idiots want to "Give back"???

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