“We need to export Tennessee common sense to Washington, D.C.,” declared Tennessee Republican Senator Lamar Alexander.
He was speaking to Shelby County Republicans gathered last night for the annual Lincoln Day Dinner. Alexander talked about the history of the party in the Memphis area and noted how it has grown. Having been both our governor and senator, he has a unique perspective on the state and its history.
He praised the state’s right to work laws which have helped bring the auto industry to our state. “One third of jobs in the state are connected to the auto industry,” Alexander said. Our fiscal health is improving, too. Alexander told of a state official who came before Barbara Boxer’s committee. Boxer offered to loan the state money for road debt. The road official refused. He said we have no such debt. “Boxer couldn’t believe it,” Alexander said. “Tennessee is the only state that has no road debt. Money doesn’t go to pay any interest on that debt.”
Alexander went on to share his frustration with Washington. “We are overcharging our students on loans and using it to pay for health care.” He takes issue with the Department of Labor which has seen fit to impose child labor laws on farms. As he explained it, many family farms rely on young people to help with tasks. “They say a person 16 years old can’t work on farm… this means they can’t even help with the milking machines or use other electric machinery… they’ve even eliminated 4H training.”
The senator then focused on our economy, which he said “we can make better.” Specifically, he said by “closing tax loopholes, balancing the budget, having a moratorium on regulations, cutting spending and using North American energy.”
He hopes to press these issues in the Senate, but acknowledged that while Obama is president, it is nearly impossible.
After his speech and the presentation of awards Chairman Justin Joy announced that he had asked each of the four remaining presidential candidates to send a statement, representative or video for the audience. Only one did; that was Senator Santorum. He discussed his family’s Italian immigrant background and reasons why he will preserve our freedoms if elected president.