Two candidates for the state Senate district including Marshall County, and three candidates for the state House district here and Giles County have accepted the Marshall County Tribune's invitation to participate in a political debate at Marshall County High School on Oct. 18.
MCHS Principal Keith Stacey, American government teacher Daniel Batey, English and drama teacher David Sanders, and other school staffers are assisting the twice-weekly newspaper with details for the event planned for the third Monday of this month. The debate is to be in the school's lecture hall.
Details remained fluid Thursday, but Stacey and Batey have embraced the plan to include students when questions are written and asked. More specifics are to be discussed this morning at the school.
Meanwhile, there have already been two public forums including candidates for House and Senate.
Columbia City Councilman Debbie Matthews, a Democrat, is challenging state Sen. Bill Ketron (R-Murfreesboro) and they sparred during a sometimes-feisty debate in Columbia on Monday at Columbia State Community College where the Student Government Association and The Daily Herald were sponsors.
Former Marshall County Commission Chairman Billy Spivey, a Republican, and former Spring Hill Alderman Ted Roop, an Independent now of Lynnville, are challenging state Rep. Eddie Bass (D-Prospect). The Giles Patriots scheduled a candidate forum Thursday night in the Pulaski Recreation Center for candidates in the 65th State House District.
Political candidates have gone to MCHS to meet with students, hear their concerns and Batey reported last month that when U.S. Sen. Bob Corker visited, his students were ready with prepared questions.
The Marshall County Tribune rented the Marshall County Community Theatre in July for a mayoral candidates debate before the county's general election in August and the venue is still considered viable for future events. Sanders, a long-time producer director at the theatre on the square, verified the newspaper's continued interest in the community theatre.
Bass and Spivey may be well enough known for the incumbent to advertise "Let's Keep Eddie" as the representative, and his challenger has been in the midst of county commission business in recent years.
Roop, however, might best be known by his campaign signs and his "Meet and Greet" event on Sept. 16 at the Saddle Creek Golf Club.
Born May 4, 1958 in West Virginia, Roop is retired from General Motors and he works at at Gerald's Auto Body Shop in Pulaski. "I prep the cars for paint and take care of the parts when they come in and make sure they're the right parts," he said.
When he lived in Spring Hill, he was elected to the city board in 2003 as an alderman.
"I served two years and moved to Giles County," Roop said. "We bought my wife's father's place after he passed away. We wanted to move to the country. We just decided we'd get out of Spring Hill."
Roop and his wife live on Morrow Branch Road at Lynnville. He filed his petition to run as an Independent on March 30. The date might seem to have been early, but independents must file when party candidates file for primary races.
He's running for the state house seat because "the two parties aren't working for the people," Roop said. "In 2009, when they convened the house, it took them two weeks to decide who would run the House and be the speaker. I thought they had more important tings to do with the shape the economy was in since the fall of 2008."
Asked about the Tea Party and if he considers himself a candidate under that banner, Roop replied, "I'd probably look to the Tea Party, but I'm not affiliated with any of them, nor am I endorsed by any of them. I'm strictly Independent. I'm not accepting any campaign contributions. That way I'm strictly accountable to the voter."
Roop's positions would appear to be similar to those held by Bass and Spivey. All three are advocates for the 2nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that secures the right to bear arms, and their views on taxes may prove to be the same.
"I am opposed to the state income tax," Roop said.
Asked about the state's Hall Income Tax on income earned on stock dividends and inerest earned on investments, Roop replied, "I'm opposed to any new taxes. I don't know if we can repeal it. I would be in favor of doing that."
During the Matthews-Ketron debate on Monday, Matthews complained that Ketron had not represented Maury County as well as other parts of his district. She said that prompted her to think that perhaps the R after his name --such as Bill Ketron (R-Murfreesboro) -- may actually stand for Rutherford County.
Ketron defended his service to residents of Maury County, explaining he's worked to attract jobs. He also countered with allegations that she, or her campaign staff, have illegally used his name on the Internet to lure contributors to her campaign.
Ketron is seeking a third term as a state senator and outlines a number of cost saving steps he's taken that benefit the state treasury and all Tennesseans. Ketron was instrumental when jobs were threatened at Henry Horton State Park as a result of potential budget cuts to the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation.
Matthews said Columbia and Maury County need improvements to Bear Creek Pike in Columbia to Interstate 65. She also criticized the incumbent for state spending HOPE scholarship money on other projects.