Twenty-second District state representative candidates Dan Howell and Adam Lowe faced off in their second debate of the campaign in front of the Cleveland Kiwanis Club Thursday afternoon.
The duo had previously met on May 29 on Mark Grissom’s “Mark in the Morning” program on WOOP-FM.
Lowe and Howell were questioned on four issues, at least one of which had shown some distance between them in the previous debate.
Howell: “I believe it’s my experience in government. I served as the executive assistant to Bradley County Mayor Gary Davis and been through five budget cycles. I understand local government quite well.
“I also serve on the state executive committee of the Republican Party which has put me in touch with many of our state leaders. I talk to some of them on a regular basis. This has given me a good understanding of state and local government.
“Beyond that, it’s my life experience. I have a broad range of work experience. I’ve owned two businesses in my life. I understand what it means to make a payroll and a budget.
“I work well with people and am a consensus builder. I can empathize with people when I’m in Nashville.
Lowe: “I didn’t kiss the ring of the godfather when I decided to enter politics. I did it because people said they needed a voice and needed help and wanted somebody they were connected to.
“I was unanimously elected vice chairman of the Commission because those men and women trusted that I could help see us through certain things. I was chairman of the education committee because they knew that productively I could work for those things.
“I haven’t rubbed elbows with the elites in Nashville. I know that. But I have spent my time and my life with you. My kids go to school with you. I coach your children in basketball. I know your life experiences. It’s time to take that to Nashville.
Elected vs. appointed
superintendent of schools
Lowe: “I think as a community, we have to decide what type of governance we want.
“In the county you elect a county mayor. But, we have a different model for the schools where you elect a board and the board then hires somebody.
“We have to find some consistency in Tennessee with how we want to govern out public institutions.
“The data is indecisive. I supported a resolution we passed three years ago which said whether to mandate on a local community, we should give the power to the local community and let them decide what’s best for them.
“Localized control of that issue is what I advocate.”
Howell: “I believe the closer government gets to the people the better government you have.
“I believe when people have the information they need, they can be trusted to make the right decision.
“This referendum [to decide on elected or appointed] before the people I believe would work.
“I have mixed emotions personally, but I believe that it is a good idea to let the people decide what kind of education system they want.
“I believe strongly the parents are the ones responsible for the education of their children.
Howell: “I oppose any effort, any program, that will take away any local control of our school system.
“Education is so important to the quality of life and we have to make sure we got it right.
“We must make sure that the new programs that are being promoted are good programs for the education of our children.
“There’s about 14 states who are opposing Common Core. When you have that kind of broad opposition, I think it’s prudent to step back and say let’s take a look at this and get it right.
“We can’t afford to say this is an experiment. I’m glad the legislature delayed this for a year and I would have voted for that delay.”
Lowe: “After 30 years in public education, we know beyond a shadow of a doubt that tinkering with standards does not improve the product of education.
“Aside from the public uproar and partisan debates over Common Core, it’s an empty reform and delaying it is only delaying the inevitable.
“We’ve gutted the way to assess Common Core. It’s not going to stand on its legs.
“We have to have solutions gong forward so what we know about standards is what we should be doing in education.
“We should be empowering the teacher. The teacher is the artist in the classroom. A teacher will tell you every classroom is different. Not one student learns the same. Not one student can be assessed the same.
“If we treat our teachers like the craftsmen they are, it’s amazing what can be accomplished.
Lowe: “We have to ask ourselves once again if we are going to be consistant with the mentalist and the thinking we take to government.
“People say to me law-abiding people need to restricted in acess to pseudoephedrine because criminals misuse it.
“What I say to them is remove the word ‘pseudoephedrine’ and put the word ‘gun’ in there and tell me you’ll stand by that.
“Tell me you stand by that logic of passing laws on law-abiding people will effect criminal activity.
“Oregon made it a prescription drug and it reduced the number of meth labs seizures. Meth lab seizures are coming down because of the shake and bake method anyway.
“And now, Oregon is No. 1 in the nation for prescription drug abuse. So, congratulations. You’ve not affected the condition at all. You have just as many addicts as you did before. You just moved your problem from one category to the other.
“Stricted penalties on criminals is the best place to start.”
Howell: “I’m glad we have it during allergy season because I suffer from allergies. I buy my Allegra-D over the counter as many other people do.
“They use it about twice a year which is about the average use for Tennessee.
“This issue was settled in the 108th Assembly. The governor supported a bill which would tighten controls on the purchase of over the counter pseudoephedrine.
“The executive director of the sheriff’s association said it’s the best bill we’ve had in the state of Tennessee.
“It limits the amount of cold medication that can be purchased to so many grams per month.
“Anything over that amount is tracked and that gives law enforcement a better tool to track those who are using the pseudoephedrine to make meth.
“About 80 percent of the meth comes from Mexico, I understand, so there’s only so much we can do in Tennessee.
“If we can do more let’s do it. But, right now I don’t know of anyone who is in favor of creating a hardship — especially on the elderly and those on fixed incomes by creating additional layers of payment by visiting a doctor before you get your cold medicine.
“I like buying mine over the counter.”