Polls: Tracy shows campaign gains
by BRIAN GRAVES Banner Staff Writer
Jul 06, 2014 | 369 views | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
State Sen. Jim Tracy has been on the road a lot lately — probably humming along to some George Strait or listening to an audio version of Bill O’Reilly’s “Killing Jesus.”

But, those quiet moments have been interrupted by stops along the way at coffee shops, restaurants and civic clubs as Tracy has conversations with the people he hopes to represent in the U.S. Congress.

Tracy is seeking to replace incumbent U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais.

If he succeeds in defeating the incumbent and five others in the August Republican primary, he would still have to face Democratic candidate Lenda Sherrell and Independent candidate Robert Doggart to grasp the seat in Washington, D.C.

“We feel real good,” Tracy said. “We’re spending a lot of time in Bradley County — at least one or two days a week. I’ve met a lot of good people and there’s a lot of good things going on in Cleveland and Bradley County. It’s a good area to be in because of the growth. The potential here is really good, and there is good leadership here that is working really hard.”

Polls and donations show Tracy’s campaign gaining strength and momentum.

“When people give you their hard-earned money right out of their pocket, it’s a sacrifice for them to do it and it means they believe in you,” Tracy said. “It’s very humbling.”

During those conversations he is having along the way, Tracy says the No. 1 thing he is hearing most is people’s opinions about the direction the country is heading.

“The country is on the wrong track, and the people know it’s on the wrong track,” Tracy said. “They want people to go to Washington who have the experience I have,” he said.

“I’ve run a business for more than 25 years. I’ve met a payroll. I know what government overreach means.”

He said voters are looking for common sense and conservative values.

“They want somebody who understands you need lower taxes and streamlined government as well as a balanced budget which I have done at the state level,” he said. “Those things have worked at the state level, and that’s why Tennessee is doing well.”

He said people are looking for quality jobs.

“I think the folks are ready for government to get out of the way,” Tracy said.

He said people also want to know if he will be accessible in a district encompassing 16 counties.

“Absolutely,” he said. “That’s my reputation. My pledge is to have an office in Bradley County staffed by people from Bradley County. I will be down here a lot.”

Tracy said people want someone who can go to Congress and get things done.

“I have been effective as a state senator in passing bills,” he said. He also said he has worked well with state agencies, such as TDOT in pushing projects into reality.

The lesson he says he has learned from being a state senator that he wants to take to Washington is “to listen to your constituents.”

“Don’t be afraid to listen to them and visit with them and talk about what their needs are,” he said. “That’s what I’ve done as a state senator. You go to the ballgame, breakfasts or whatever — that’s where you find out. That’s where they can pop you with questions and you find out what’s on people’s mind.”

He said he wants to remain involved in the communities he serves in order to know what is going on.

Tracy says the president has overreached his bounds with executive orders.

“I think he’s doing a lot of things that I think are unconstitutional,” he said. “I think the Founding Fathers decided the Congress is supposed to be over the budget and both branches should be working together.”

He said the tone of Washington’s major problems is “no one is talking to each other.”

“They just want to find a camera and talk about the other guy,” Tracy said.

He said one of the things he wants to tackle is a streamlining of the tax system.

“If we made the system simpler and fairer, it would take a lot of the power away from the IRS,” he said. “They now have so much power they are doing things they should not be doing.”

Tracy said he believes the issue can be resolved on a bipartisan basis.

He reflects on the Iraq situation, saying so much has been done to make the country into a democracy, and “now that we have pulled out all the troops, it is falling apart.”

“If the terrorist organization ISIS takes over Iraq, not only will they have oil and money, they’re going to be coming after us,” he said. “It affects the whole region. It’s a big concern. They are dangerous. It’s very scary. I don’t know what the answer is right now, but I think we had a shot at them early and we didn’t do anything. We need to keep everything on the table, and they need to be afraid of us.”

Tracy said the death of former U.S. Sen. Howard Baker, who he called “a Southern gentleman,” should be a reminder of a better breed of legislators.

“He knew how to talk to people,” Tracy said. “I think people are looking for that kind of leadership that can communicate with people — to tell what your ideas are and why your ideas are good.”

He said Baker did not mind asking the tough questions and “getting the answers back he didn’t like.”

“Sometimes as public servants you have to do that,” Tracy said. “I’m willing to do that and take that on.”