published Friday, September 7th, 2012

Listen to Dr. Mary Headrick

  • photo
    Dr. Mary Headrick is running in the Democratic primary to be the candidate for Tennessee's 3rd congressional district.
    Contributed Photo

Dr. Mary Headrick, the standard-bearer for Democrats in the campaign for Tennessee's 3rd District seat in Congress, has a tough row to hoe. Though she espouses policies that show a well-versed and constructive understanding of district and national needs, her campaign is attracting relatively little attention in the heavily Republican district. Her voice should be heard. Her views on the Chickamauga lock, for example, are sensible, substantive and a clear and preferable alternative to those of her opponent, GOP incumbent Rep. Chuck Fleischmann.

Fleischmann seems content to ride his not-so-substantial victory in the GOP primary to success in the November general election. He's keeping a relatively low profile, appearing mostly in front of friendly audiences and providing platitudes about problems rather than offering serious proposals to resolve them. That might prove to be an effective political strategy, but it shortchanges voters in the district.

Fleischmann, for example, admits the Chickamauga lock needs repairs and eventual replacement, but offers no method to fund either. Indeed, he's on record opposing even a small increase in taxes to rebuild the lock and the nation's other crumbling infrastructure and has provided no other realistic funding options. He seems content to allow the current budget impasse in Congress to continue. If it does, all work on the lock will cease next month.

Moreover, he has no plan of his own to address the lock's problems. He's simply appropriated one promoted by his colleague, U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, also a Republican, and hopes for the best. Third District residents and all who benefit from the heavy traffic the flows up and down the Tennessee River deserve better.

Headrick has specific and useful proposals. She would increase the current 20-cent-per-gallon marine diesel tax to 29 cents. That's a viable option that even barge operators, hardly a pro-tax business group, view favorably. She would pursue issuance of relatively low-cost bonds backed by state and federal government to underwrite lock maintenance. She also favors modification of the Inland Waterway Trust Fund formula, an option explored by Alexander, and pledges to work diligently and cooperatively to break the budget logjam that threatens not only the Chickamauga project but similar ones around the nation.

Headrick provides specific solutions to the lock and fiscal impasse. Fleischmann offers sound bites to please his conservative constituents and to curry favor with House Speaker John Boehner and his cabal of partisan naysayers.

Headrick should be heard, though Fleischmann is doing his darndest to prevent that. He's promised a public debate, but has not honored that pledge yet. Indeed, he seems to believe that if he ignores his Democratic opponent, she'll go away. She won't. Neither will the problems at Chickamauga dam.

If nothing is done to provide long-term funding for the lock — the likely outcome of Fleischmann's current stance -- the lock could close. That would cripple if not completely strangle the regional economy and put an estimate 150,000 more long-haul trucks on the region's already overburdened and crumbling roads, according to one regional expert. Fleischmann conveniently if not purposefully overlooks the likely outcome of his flawed, myopic policies.

Headrick offers viable alternatives to Fleischmann's superficial positions on other similarly pressing topics, like health care, stagnant wages, tax inequity, job growth, improved educational opportunities, environmental rules, women's issues, the survival and growth of small businesses and Medicare and Social Security. She brings both credibility and a deep understanding of such issues to the table. Her opponent, despite nearly two years in Washington, still fails to do so.

Headrick's passion for fair and equitable government, her grasp of the issues and her willingness to discuss them suggests she would admirably serve the interests of all residents of the 3rd District in Washington. That's something Fleischmann has yet to prove.

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jmalgeri said...

I applaud the timesfreepress for this article and for their coverage of the races for District 3.

I speak as a voter from Dandridge, who, since redistricting, no longer has Chuck Fleischmann as his representative -- HAPPILY.

Area voters should know that the congressman Never contacted constituents like me when he was coming to the city. The only way I knew he was around was from newspaper reports AFTER he'd come and gone. I suppose that's because I had serious questions and he really doesn't do well with serious questions.

I met Mary Headrick in Knoxville some moths back and I was pleasantly surprised by her command of issues, her strong, well-thought- out opinions, and her willingness to engage in dialogue.

I have no dog in the 3rd District issues but I can tell you that if you want a representative who is concerned about her constituents above all, you must take the time to attend one of her events and hear her out. She stands head and shoulders above her opponent, and you would do well to allow her to serve you and your district.

September 7, 2012 at 12:12 p.m.
328Kwebsite said...

M.D., M.S. in Computer Science; years of working at ORNL: Headrick has my vote.

Her competitor's main accomplishment is parroting Karl Rove's propaganda. He has wasted our time and his by doing nothing in Congress. He has authored no original legislation of substance; not once have we seen him even remotely attempt to write laws which reflect our views. Not only has he accomplished nothing, but also he has wasted our time with his tenure.

Headrick, by contrast, is a strong, smart woman who has continually improved herself over her career. She has demonstrated the initiative to speak up and take action. Her career shows the hallmarks of someone who makes ideas become reality. Headrick 2012.

September 7, 2012 at 10:34 p.m.
jmalgeri said...

I enjoyed reading 382Kwebsite's comments. One sentence stood out: "Not only has he accomplished nothing, but also he has wasted our time with his tenure."

We taxpayers pay our congressmen (Fleischmann) $170,000/year PLUS EXPENSES and other perks to work about 100 DAYS/YR. He not only wasted your time, he wasted over a QUARTER MILLION DOLLARS OF YOUR MONEY. Let's say you're a business man. Would you keep this guy on your payroll?

September 7, 2012 at 11:25 p.m.
DJHBRAINERD said...

the lock could close. That would cripple if not completely strangle the regional economy and put an estimate 150,000 more long-haul trucks on the region's already overburdened and crumbling roads, according to one regional expert....Sounds like a lot of new customers for the pilot flying J truck stops. So maybe with the estate tax gone and all these new customers the Governor's family will practice some trickle down economics and provide a couple more minimum wage jobs at truck stops all accross the region. Tennessee has a republican controlled house,senate and Governor as well as 3rd district rep and both senators. Yes, I think it is time to look at Dr Headrick or any candidate that will not be a yes man to the party. Congress has an 11% approval and we are gonna send the same guy back? why?

September 8, 2012 at 1:11 a.m.
carlB said...

Dr. Mary Headrick wants to inform the voters on the issues so that they can vote "smartly" for the best person. Under normal conditions, the voters of both parties would insist on having debates. Fleischmann, apparently agrees with the policies of the obstructism and lies of the Republicans, not wanting to inform the voters with the truth but keep them in the "Dark." The sad part is that the more the Republicans "Lie," there is a group of people who would not have it any other way and are accepting the lies. When the voters accept the strategy of lying by the Republicans and are not interesting in learning the facts through having debates between the Democratic and Republican candidates? Would this give an indication that the voters who continue to vote for the Republican candidates, are not wanting to correct the crisis conditions of this Republic? The Democratic Party has two well informed candidicates running in this area US Congressional Districts 3 and 4 of TN. The voters are going to have the "choice" of voting and showing their proper judgment for the Democratic candidates Dr Mary Headrick in the third TN US Congressional District and Eric Stewart in the fourth TN US Congressional District. It is also important for the Voters to vote for all Democratic candidates running for the TN state offices.

September 10, 2012 at midnight
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