KINGSPORT, Tenn. (AP) -- Illegal immigration, state spending and the minimum wage were among the issues Democratic incumbent state Rep. Nathan Vaughn and Republican challenger Tony Shipley debated in northeastern Tennessee.
The 2nd District candidates appeared in a forum Monday night at Dobyns-Bennett High School in Kingsport.
Shipley told the audience of about 200 people he favored making English the official language of Tennessee and denying a driver's license to people who can't pass the written portion of a driver's test in English.
He says last year Tennessee spent about $285 million to support illegal immigrants and argued the money could have been spent on health care, education or better roads.
But the Kingsport Times-News reports that Vaughn argued that illegal immigration is a federal issue, although he says the state has taken some steps to try to curb the problem. And he suggested the minimum wage contributed to illegal immigration, with immigrants taking jobs that others didn't want.
Shipley criticized Vaughn's vote for a minimum wage increase and said the minimum wage is merely a starting point.
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)