U.S. Congressman Chuck Fleischmann appeared before local elected officials, businessmen and constituents at the mayor’s round table at Roane State Community College on Jan. 29. The event allowed him to hear the concerns of Campbell County citizens.
“When I campaigned in the new district three, Scott County and most of Campbell County were added,” Fleischmann said. “I want feedback from the people here in Campbell County so I can go back to Washington and advocate for the people of Campbell County.”
Fleischmann is hosting a mayor’s round table in each of the 11 counties he represents, hoping to hear from his constituents.
“My commitment is to the people of the third district,” Fleischmann said. “It’s easy when you represent people from East Tennessee because people from East Tennessee have good values.”
Fleischmann described the situation in Washington D. C., and spoke about his goals.
“We have again a divided government,” Fleischmann said, referring to the political atmosphere. “Sometimes divided government works, sometimes it doesn’t.”
One of Fleischmann’s goals is to prioritize spending, and to be fiscally responsible. Fleischmann was critical of waste, but acknowledged a need for safety and building roads and bridges.
“That’s money the government ought to be spending,” Fleischmann said.
Fleischmann outlined his hopes for economic development in Tennessee.
“I love economic development, and Tennessee is a great state for economic development,” he said.
Fleischmann feels Tennessee being a right to work state and its lack of a state income tax make it a good place for economic development. He hopes to keep federal regulations away from Tennessee so businesses can grow, he said.
“It’s a lot of hard work,” Fleischmann said.
Fleischmann further expressed a desire to take advantage of domestic resources, such as natural gas, coal and fossil fuels, with hopes America can become energy independent.
“I want to be energy independent,” Fleischmann said. “That potential is there. It is real. It’s a win-win for everybody.”
Fleischmann answered questions about issues ranging from healthcare to the Tennessee Valley Authority’s new rate structure for commercial operators.
Campbell County Mayor William Baird asked Fleischmann how the Affordable Healthcare Act would impact county governments. His inquiry was followed up by a question from local businessman Mark Hoskins, who wanted to know how the bill would affect businesses.
Fleischmann wasn’t a member of Congress when it approved the bill, and he has since voted to repeal it, Fleischmann said.
“I’m not a supporter of Obamacare,” he said.
However, because the bill has been passed, there are provisions that will take affect, Fleischmann said. It will involve 21 new taxes and there will be regulations.
“We don’t know the extent of this,” he said. “A lot of the new taxes are coming into affect. I will personally do everything possible to alleviate the burden.”
E. L. Morton, director of the Campbell County Chamber of Commerce, asked Fleischmann about TVA’s new rate structure for commercial operators.
“That’s a problem,” Fleischmann said.
The new rate structure isn’t evenly distributed, Fleischmann said.
“I like a level playing field for all Americans,” he said.
Hoskins asked Fleischmann why the military has been targeted for budgetary cuts.
Fleischmann voted against cutting funding to the military, he said. Fleischmann believes there are better places to cut, he said.