The second speaker at the Lunch Hour Republicans was Tennessee Congressman Zach Wamp.
Since he will be appearing at our Midtown Republican Club meeting June 1st I was interested in hearing what he had to say.
I really came in with no preconceptions.
Congressman Wamp introduced himself and noted he was one of the class of 1994. He has been working in the party since college days. He decided it was time, however, to move from Congress to the Governor’s office, because he feels strongly we need a new direction.
With 57 days left til early voting starts, Wamp has spent a lot of time in Shelby County. He has inaugurated a “Memphis Matters” campaign and promises to put us in the forefront in Nashville. Too often we have been ignored by Nashville, he said. He wants to lead us in a Renaissance comparable to what he helped achieve in Chattanooga. That includes fully funding the Med and emphasizing our distribution center qualities and great business leaders.
Two other problems he wants to discuss that other candidates ignore, he said, are “our state is poor on education and health.” For example, TCAPs are administred at the end of the third grade. “If you can’t read by the third grade, there is a problem. We need to have benchmarks in kindergarten,” he said, noting that if you fail in reading early you fail for the rest of your elementary and high school career.
The Memphis infant mortality rate draws his ire, too, as does the sad fact that half of our state’s 17-24 year olds now wouldn’t qualify for the military.
As for crime, Wamp noted that “having safe communities means keeping repeat offenders off the street,” and he is willing to explore cheaper incarceration vs. letting criminals out.
My favorite issue, however, was his emphasis on state soverignty. “We need a governor with a backbone and a healthy distrust of a big federal government. We can feel freedom lipping through our fingers in this country.”
His was an impressive presentation and it will be interesting to see how he does in debating the other candidates. WKNO has schedule a debate among them for Tuesday night at 7.