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State District 7 battle brewing

The rookie politician said he’s the more “serious” candidate who’s a “proven job and business developer,” while the six-year state House representative said he can “hit the ground running” as your new state senator.

State senate, District 7, is up for grabs between two men expressing a desire to set up public debates but who can’t get together: Democrat Randy Walker, a political newcomer, and state Rep. Stacey Campfield (R-District 18).

“I am a proven job developer, business developer,” said Walker, a program manager and business developer for Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Walker said he will “go to these large companies that we have in this area and I’m going to ask, ‘What do you think that we need to do to improve our ability to create opportunity in this area? That’s not being done now.’”

Walker said he’ll bring expertise on “how to talk to business and how to make laws and regulations that are beneficial to business. And we’ll still provide for public safety, and we’ll still provide for the education of our children.”

Walker, 50, said he’s “internationally recognized” for his work concerning “transportation security and safety,” and would fight to give law enforcement more “tools that they need,” including “tools for that training.”

As for problems within Farragut he’ll address, Walker pointed out “there’s trucks that bypass that weigh station and come right down Kingston Pike. It’s a problem for those roads, and Farragut has a higher [rate] or resurfacing than other parts of the county.”

He added that town of Farragut officials “wanted to work on” solving the bypass problem, “but we could never get any cooperation out of the state of Tennessee.”

Though Campfield has six years experience in as a state representative, “What’s he done to solve any of these problems in the six years he’s been there?” Walker asked.

“Serious candidates for serious times. We’re embarking on, probably, some very serious times, in terms of where we are economically, where we are nationally.”

Campfield said he’s “got the experience to hit the ground running.”

“I actually was one of the few legislators who actually returned money to the taxpayers in the form of [City of Knoxville] tax rebates on their property taxes,” he added.

With a budget deficit he estimated between $1 billon and $1.5 billion “short of a stimulus [package] part two,” Campfield said the next fiscal year “is a great opportunity to reduce some government.”

Otherwise, “It’s going to be more like a jump off a cliff,” he said.

Campfield cited publicly funded “multi-million dollar golf courses put in districts to make some senators happy, keep their constituents happy, but they’re big money losers. We need to either sell them off or privatize them because they’ve lost money year after year after year.”

Also, “We have airplanes galore in the state of Tennessee, I’m talking multi-million dollar airplanes, so people can fly around and go to big, fancy events,” Campfield said. “Hangar fees, maintenance, insurance. It’s actually cheaper for us to rent airplanes. Getting rid of those would be a great savings to taxpayers.”

As for Farragut, Campfield said he’s “passionately” against unregulated red-light cameras.

Campfield, 42, said red-light camera revenues should “go to something positive, like driver education courses, or goes to education in and of itself.”

With red-light regulation legislation having previously failed, Campfield said “there’s a lot better chance for stuff this year. .... The one bill that came that finally got up there turned into a Christmas tree with about 85 other bills on it, and they said it was just too much.”

Ron Leadbetter, GOP state senate primary runner-up who lost to Campfield by less than three percent in a four-person race, said he would not support this Republican nominee.

About Leadbetter’s decision, Campfield said, “If he wants to be sour and bitter, that’s fine. ... When I was with him a few days before the primary, I talked about, ‘Hey, we all need to pull together after the primary.’ I said I was more than happy to do that if the shoe was on the other foot.”

Campfield, a real estate redeveloper, said Walker and his campaign supporters “have done some push polling, and it’s all just a smear.

“That’s all right, I guess that’s the kind of campaign they want to run,” he added.


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