By Karen Hall
Local Republicans heard from two candidates at their monthly meeting Tuesday.
First to speak was Public Defender Donna Orr Hargrove, who would like to be re-elected to the position she has held since 1998. Hargrove told the group she is a graduate of David Lipscomb University and the Nashville School of Law, and worked as an assistant public defender for five years before being elected to the top public defender's job in the 17th Judicial District.
"I have 20 years of criminal law experience," Hargrove said. "I am very proud of my office." She currently employs six attorneys, and likes the way they stay with her, instead of leaving to enter private practice.
The Public Defender's job is strictly defined by statute, Hargrove stated. "We represent indigent defendants who are appointed to us by the court system. We do not get to pick our cases. We work in all courts, from Juvenile and General Sessions right up to the state appellate court. We have a vast amount of experience in all types of criminal law, and we are very experienced in dealing with high case loads."
Hargrove said there have been three death penalty cases in the 17th Judicial District since she has been a public defender -- two that went to trial and one that settled. Her office is "death penalty qualified," which is not true of all Public Defender's Offices in the state.
Hargrove asked the Republicans for their votes, but concluded, "Don't take my word for it, ask people in the judicial system. That's what I do when I'm considering voting for a person, ask people who know them."
Next up was State Rep. Joe Carr, who would like to replace Lamar Alexander in the U.S. Senate.
"We have become disillusioned with our representatives in Washington," Carr said. "I'm greatly distressed by that.
"My pledge is that I'm going to represent the State of Tennessee," he said.
"It's not enough to be a Republican," he continued. "I'm a conservative, and I'm a Constitutionalist. Some of you may not be able to vote for me, but we are not at the 11th hour, we are at the midnight hour.
"I'm going up there to start a fight," said Carr, referring to what he would do in Washington. "We have trampled on the legacy of the 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence."
Carr complemented Marshall County's State Rep. Billy Spivey, who was also at the meeting.
"You have one serious fighting legislator," he said. "That man's got no quit in him. He has values and principles, and puts community first."
Spivey returned the compliment, stating, "Joe Carr is a warrior. If you're looking for somebody who will take the fight to them, Carr's the man. He never stops listening."
Carr fielded numerous questions from his listeners, including one from a man who asked about the size and scope of the federal government and what should be reined in.
"I would get rid of the Department of Education," Carr said. "They have a $70 billion budget and don't teach one child. The IRS could be trimmed by 90 percent, with a fair tax or a flat tax. The EPA, the FDA -- choose an acronym and it could be cut!"
The Marshall County Republicans will meet again on April 15, and are looking forward to their Presidents Day Dinner on April 25, when Ralph Bristol will be the speaker.