published Sunday, November 4th, 2012

On the issues: Where area candidates stand on key issues in the 2012 election

3RD CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT

CHICKAMAUGA LOCK

CHUCK FLEISCHMANN -- Has lobbied for restructuring the Inland Waterways Trust Fund, which taxes barge companies and other waterway users to pay for new construction and repair work on locks and dams. He says the funds are not equitably distributed.

MARY HEADRICK -- Wants to federally guarantee low-interest bonds to be repaid by lock user fees and a higher marine diesel fuel tax and also wants to "reform and reprioritize" the Inland Waterway Trust Fund so it doesn't pay for projects on a cost-plus basis or tolerate cost overruns and construction delays.

HEALTH CARE REFORM

FLEISCHMANN -- Is against Obamacare, saying the federal government cannot fix the problems in the health care system. Says the system needs "tort reform, health savings accounts, purchasing insurance across state lines and (insurance) pooling."

HEADRICK -- A physician, she wants to keep Obamacare but add reforms to prevent insurance companies from hiking premiums for pre-existing conditions, make sure the federal payment advisory board doesn't ration dollars or care. Wants to create a public option so qualified providers can join and abandon the Medicare mandate and compel states to participate.

ECONOMY

FLEISCHMANN -- Notes that he has a seven-point jobs plan titled "Less Government, More Jobs" that pushes for "energy exploration, tort reform, tax reform, rein in regulatory agencies, and more," all of which he says will strengthen the economy.

HEADRICK -- Wants to halt trade agreements that ship U.S. jobs overseas then bring back "cheap foreign goods" that skew the balance of trade. Fix tax and corporate laws that are sending too much money to CEOs and financial institutions and pay a fair wage to workers.

4TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT

DEFICIT REDUCTION

SCOTT DESJARLAIS -- Supported Rep. Paul Ryan's budget plan, saying "it was the only credible plan that would put us on a path to balanced budgets and debt reduction." Voted against raising the debt country's limit.

ERIC STEWART -- As a Franklin County commissioner and state senator, he says he helped pass eight balanced budgets, which shows he can work with both Republicans and Democrats. The same kind of cooperation is needed in Washington, D.C., where leaders must "stop fighting and start fixing."

HEALTH CARE

SCOTT DESJARLAIS -- A physician, he wants health care reforms that "empower patients and their doctors, reduce costs and expand access to care." Obamacare is not the way to do that because it's a bureaucratic takeover of the health care system that will "overspend and underdeliver."

ERIC STEWART -- Supports Obamacare but says it isn't "perfect" and some sections need fixing. Wants to strengthen Medicare and not turn it into "a voucher program."

JOBS

SCOTT DESJARLAIS -- Businesses face too many regulations and too many taxes, which stifle job growth. Instead, he says the government should get out of the way of businesses by reducing such roadblocks.

ERIC STEWART -- The economy can be improved by giving tax breaks to working families instead of corporations. With more money, families will spend more at local businesses, which will hire more employees and improve the economy overall.

TENNESSEE 10th SENATE DISTRICT

CHARTER SCHOOLS

TODD GARDENHIRE -- Says both charter schools and vouchers will give parents control over how their money is spent so their children get the best education, "not forcing children into a situation based on their ZIP code." Overall, education decisions should be made on the local level.

ANDRAE MCGARY -- Supports charter schools and believes charter school applications should be approved by a combination of local school boards and state education officials.

TENNCARE EXPANSION

TODD GARDENHIRE -- Using an expansion of TennCare to pull down federal dollars "demonstrates the dangers of politics." Opposes expanding TennCare.

ANDRAE MCGARY -- Favors a TennCare expansion, but adds that a single-payer system is the "most efficient and cost-effective way to administer health care."

JOBS

TODD GARDENHIRE -- Says jobs are not created by "government and politicians," but they can create a system that "encourages investment, commerce and new businesses." Wants to do away with regulations that get in the way of businesses and innovation.

ANDRAE MCGARY -- Wants to invest in workforce training, create business incentives to foster competition and make sure regulations are "balanced and means-tested." Investment in technical high schools is also a priority.

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