Very quietly, there is a very important race going on in Cheatham and Dickson counties for the new State Representative for the newly drawn District 78. The contestants are Linda Hayes, whom I support in my capacity as a member of the Cheatham County Democratic Committee and as a matter of personal conviction, and Mary Littleton, about whom I know and from whom I have heard very little. I do know this race is important, because it is a chance to send someone new, a Democrat, to Nashville where I believe she will stand up for the things we need in our counties and the State and not waste precious time, as the last Legislature did, on foolish issues that made little difference to anyone.
I have spoken with Ms. Hayes on many occasions, and I know she is waging a very energetic campaign to meet the voters and find out what is on their minds. I have not had the occasion to encounter Ms. Littleton on the campaign trail and have not heard anything about what she may be doing.
For the past six years, Linda Hayes has been the mayor of White Bluff in Dickson, their first woman mayor ever, and for eight years before that she was a member of the town council, all but one as vice-mayor. In her term as mayor, she has compiled a mind-boggling list of accomplishments for the benefit of her constituents: a new city hall; a new fire hall and ambulance station and an ambulance (the town’s first) to go with it; a $500,000 grant to rebuild and repair the sewer system; and many, many other things while still growing the city fund balance by 39% in the last two years. For all of this, one of her most important contributions to the town’s future was overseeing the development of the all-volunteer Jennie Woodworth Library, the community’s first library in more than 100 years.
As far as I know, Ms. Littleton has never held elective office, although I believe she is an official in the Republican Party. I also know that the campaign literature I received from her during the primaries was full of national Republican bromides that seemed more for the benefit of the very wealthy than for small businesses and workers, and more for the benefit of hospitals and healthcare providers than for those in need of care. Her “plan for private sector job growth,” for instance, consisted of such items as “shrink the size of state government” and “fight Obamacare and federal mandates that drive up the cost of doing business,” neither of which seems to have much relevance to job growth in Tennessee. Similarly, her mailing on healthcare focused, again, on fighting “Obamacare and federal mandates” (easy to say for someone in her apparent income bracket), while other planks included “free market solutions” (whatever that means), the ever-present “reducing government regulations,” and “protect[ing] the doctor-patient relationship,” an absolutely meaningless pledge in today’s world for anyone who is fortunate enough to have a doctor to relate to.
Ms. Hayes, on the other hand, has pledged to make job creation “Tennessee’s #1 priority” and, very significantly, to increase job re-training for displaced workers so that they will be able to take advantage of new employment. In the same vein, she has vowed to “strengthen our schools, pre-K through higher education,” an area which is vital to our counties’ and the State’s future welfare and strongly related to the attraction and development of new industrial, technical, and professional opportunities. Among many other things, she also promises to “honor our commitment to veterans,” whose medical and other treatment when they return home has been a national disgrace but is one that can be remedied to a great extent by efforts at the State level.
It is unfortunate that there are not more opportunities for the candidates to face each other and publicly debate the important issues involved in the District 78 election. If there were, voters would quickly determine that Linda Hayes, the Democrat, is more qualified by far to see that the needs and concerns of ordinary people in our district do not continue to be ignored.
(Although I strongly support Ms. Hayes in this election, I should make it clear that the views in this letter are strictly my own.)
MICHAEL S. LOTTMAN