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LetterToTheEditor — Stokes blasts Hagood, Cagle

Dear Editor:

I have been advised that (Jamie Roberts-Hagood) appeared on the Lloyd Daugherty radio show this past week. I have also been told that while on the air (Hagood) stated that I supported a state income tax. While I enjoy Lloyd’s show, it’s difficult for me to take time out of my workday to listen very often, so I didn’t actually hear (Hagood’s) remarks.

However, I am curious if (Hagood has) any evidence to support (her) claim that I endorsed an income tax in the past. I have written letters, made talks and otherwise publicly commented on the subject of a state income tax. (Hagood was) in the audience when I spoke to the South Knoxville Rotary Club about the income tax issue a few years back. If (Hagood) disagreed with anything I said, (she) certainly didn’t speak up, and I distinctly remember speaking with (her). (Does Hagood) recall me endorsing an income tax that day?

Can (Hagood) quote me ever saying or writing that I supported the imposition of a state income tax? If so, I would be very interested to see it since I have no memory of such an occurrence. In fact, I have recently stated that I never endorsed a State Income Tax, a statement I believe to be accurate. If (Hagood has) any proof that I am misrepresenting myself or my past record, I call on (her) to make such evidence public immediately.

I note that (Hagood lists her) occupation in the “Blue Book” as an attorney, although it seems that (she has) pretty much been a full time legislator since (she) graduated from law school. At least I have never crossed paths with (her) at any of the courthouses I frequent throughout the region. Still, I am sure (Hagood remembers) learning about the “burden of proof” concept in law school. A party pushing a particular theory has the duty to support that theory with real evidence. I will advise you now that the rantings of a bitter local pundit do not constitute proof. I have confronted Frank Cagle about the attack piece he wrote on me last year. When I asked him why nothing I had ever written or said was quoted, he stated that the article was simply an opinion piece, not a news piece, and he didn’t need to quote me. I advised him I thought that was a sorry way to do business.

In any event, I would certainly like to see what evidence (Hagood has) to prove I have ever supported, endorsed or advocated a state income tax.


Billy J. Stokes

Candidate for State Senate

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