Reps hold Town Hall meeting here

Friday, May 30, 2014

By Karen Hall


State Rep. Billy Spivey and US Rep. Scott DesJarlais joined forces for a Town Hall meeting, held May 15 at the Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders' and Exhibitors' Association meeting room.

Lou Ann Zelenik, who made an unsuccessful run for Congress in 2010, was the moderator.

"I appreciate such a great crowd," she exclaimed. "This is wonderful.

"Fiscal conservatism should be a national issue," Zelenik continued. "We have two great Americans here who are doing the heavy lifting."

"This is about you," said Spivey. "This is about what you have to say."

"It's our pleasure to be here," added DesJarlais. "It's an opportunity for us to do our job -- we were elected to represent all of you."

He went on to introduce staff members from his offices around the district, all of whom are ready to answer voters' questions and help with a variety of issues.

John Anderson, who is running against DesJarlais in the Republican primary, was the first to speak.

He is a teacher, and views with alarm the Common Core standards recently advocated by the U.S. Department of Education.

"I like aggressive representation," Anderson said, referring to states pulling back from Common Core, and this was greeted with applause.

"We have pulled back on Common Core and PARCC testing," said Spivey.

"Tennessee took stimulus money to implement it (Common Core) in 2010," DesJarlais said. "A lot of people were for it until they were against it. Haslam seems to be pressing forward in spite of opposition. It's important to read the bill before you vote on it!"

DesJarlais went on to discuss Benghazi and the Veterans Administration, both hot topics in Washington and elsewhere right now.

In regards to the VA, Spivey said, "The situation is more pervasive than just the waiting list," and cited the case of a constituent whose paperwork was stalled for 13 months, until the veteran's widow died in a nursing home.

"There's an incredible breakdown in the sense of urgency," he said. "Maybe this will expose a lot of stuff."

"My mom was a VA nurse for 44 years," said DesJarlais.

"We'll get to the bottom of the VA issue in a hurry," he promised.

DesJarlais went on to discuss moves to reduce the size of government.

"If there was ever a small-government guy, it's me," said Spivey. "Sometimes the most important vote you cast is 'no.'"

"Congratulations on your voting record," said Scottie Poarch, former chairman of the Marshall County Republican Party, and current candidate for County Mayor. "You're so conservative. Billy is too."

"If you're happy, it's because you get involved," DesJarlais replied. "I represent you. You guys tell me how to vote."

The meeting ended after an hour so that Spivey and DesJarlais could attend -- and speak at -- the Law Enforcement Memorial Service being held in Rock Creek Park.