CORNERSVILLE -- Jobs, education and political disputes were the focus of a candidates debate Thursday at the high school here where three men pressed their campaigns for the state House seat to represent Marshall and Giles counties.
With Cornersville High School juniors Brittney Crowell, Jacob Gentry, Martha McMasters and Drew Zudel asking four questions, answers came from Rep. Eddie Bass (D-Prospect) and his challengers: Independent Ted Roop of Lynnville; and Republican Billy Spivey of Lewisburg.
To increase employment: Bass said, "Preserve what we have... Watch for... anything that would jeopardize jobs" and work with state developers; Roop said, "Pass legislation conducive to business and get out of the way;" and Spivey said use "clever financing plans" and "target areas with the highest unemployment" as suggested by Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam who's running for governor.
Bass and Spivey were asked to discuss issues in their campaign ads. Spivey has said Bass voted against letting police pursue a suspect's citizenship status. Bass said he voted against a bill that would cost sheriffs' departments too much money, but for affordable legislation that's now law.
Spivey said just because he disagrees with someone, doesn't mean they're wrong. It just means he has a different view.
Questions posed early in the debate found candidates in agreement.
All saw advantages to electing school superintendents instead of hiring a director as directed by state law. Marshall County has had three in four years.
As for letting drink and snack vending machines return to schools, the candidates said no, citing marginal nutrition and nominal revenue for schools.
None said they'd resign if they couldn't get jobs here, as suggested by John Lyle, a Tribune caller who said if he was in office he couldn't do worse than some officials.
If elected, the candidates would vote to eliminate the state income tax on stock dividends and interest income, a measure started during the Great Depression.