U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann struck a different tone Thursday when sharing the stage with his Democratic rival, Mary Headrick, and others at a candidate forum, reports the Chattanooga TFP.
Along with Fleischmann and Headrick, U.S. Senate candidate Gordon Ball, a Democrat challenging Sen. Lamar Alexander, and state House District 27 candidates, Republican Patsy Hazlewood and her Democratic opponent Eric Mcroy, shared their views with the nearly full auditorium
Fleischmann’s pitch Thursday was a far cry from the hard-line partisan stance he took during the Republican primary. Multiple times he stressed the importance of working across the aisle and praised “great debate” in the nation’s capitol.
This was also the Ooltewah Republican’s first local campaign event without longtime political operative Chip Saltsman in his corner.
“The things that divide us are really minimal. I’ve seen it first hand — we come together as a House, as a Senate and as a nation to deal with crisis,” Fleischmann said.
Outside of the general tone, Fleischmann continued to tout some of the same points he used before the Aug. 7 primary — his role in restructuring the Chickamauga Lock and getting Erlanger Health System connected to federal funding.
“I rolled up my sleeves, went to work for our senators and went to work with all nine of our representatives. Our Republicans and Democrats came together and got work done,” Fleischmann said.
… “I maintain that the strength of our county depends on a strong middle class,” Headrick said. “Our representatives have made decisions harmful to the middle class, but benefited special interests and big donors to campaigns,” Headrick said.
After criticizing Citizen’s United, a Supreme Court decision that she said opened the door for letting “dark money” into political campaigns by allowing corporations to contribute as people, Headrick said she was running for Congress to support social safety nets, public education, reduced interest rates for student loans and an increased minimum wage.
“I don’t think our government needs to be run like a business,” she said. “It needs to be a good service. And when we gouge our college students with a high interest rate, you are running it like business, not a good service.”
… Ball spent is 10 minutes answering criticism from the Alexander campaign, and went on to speak against Common Core school curriculum and echoed Headrick’s stance on college loans.
“If we can bail out Wall Street, surely to God we can bail out our kids,” Ball said.
The event was not a debate and no questions were accepted from the floor.