One of the more heated races in the Nov. 2 State General Election is for the Tennessee District 17 State Senate seat.
It pits incumbent Mae Beavers, loved by conservatives and loathed by liberals, against George McDonald, a farmer and small businessman from Smith County who has never held public office.
Both candidates have attacked each other’s stances on the issues and character hard, and each has been the subject of vicious attack ads by the opposition party.
The 17th District is comprised of Cannon, DeKalb, Wilson, Smith, Trousdale, Macon and Clay counties.
The Cannon Courier contacted both candidates to elicit their thoughts on the major issues and why they would be elected over their opponent.
What do you see as the major issues facing the facing Tennessee, the 17th Tennessee District and Cannon County now, and during the next four years?
BEAVERS: The major issue right now is the budget and being able to keep taxes low and regulations off business so as to create jobs. Jobs are a major issue for Cannon County and all of the other 7 counties in my district. One of the major issues next year will be balancing the budget and making the tough decisions, something I have done for several years.
MC DONALD: Nashville needs some folks with common sense and real world experience to solve problems and create jobs. I’m not a politician, so I offer that experience based on our Volunteer Values.
Bringing jobs back to Tennessee and keeping them is critical. We can get back to work by easing burdens on small businesses, providing small businesses with tax incentives and cutting job-killing red tape.
For Cannon County and our other rural communities, we need to build and maintain infrastructure like better roads and access to broadband. With stronger infrastructure and a well-educated workforce, Tennesseans will be back on the job.
How do you plan to address them?
BEAVERS: I plan to continue my stance for the people and against higher taxes and more regulations on business so that companies will look at Tennessee as a great state to do business.
MC DONALD: We must strengthen our education system to prepare our children to compete in a global economy. We also have to improve opportunities and skills of our adult workforce so they can better provide for themselves and their families.
We must hold politicians accountable for every tax dollar spent, starting with cutting legislative expenses and per diems.
State government must live within its means. The state budget can and should be balanced by cutting spending and waste – not by raising taxes. I oppose any additional state taxes and most specifically, a state income tax.
For too long many Nashville politicians have been focused on partisan bickering instead of getting the job done for us. My parents taught me that to get things done, you need to get along with people. I have always worked with people, not against them. I don’t care if an idea comes from a Democrat, a Republican or an Independent. If it’s a good idea, I want to find a way to make it work.
Why should voters elect you over the person you are running against?
BEAVERS: I am a true conservative with a proven track record. I have served and know the people of the 17th Senatorial District. I have helped get funding for road projects, bridges, grants for waterlines, etc. I think my experience and my proven conservative leadership, plus my willingness to stand up for the people always make me the choice for Cannon County.
I am not indebted to any special interest and will continue to serve the people in a manner that represents their conservative values in this State. I am pro-life, endorsed by Tennessee Right to Life; endorsed by the NFIB who represents business; and by the NRA, the Lebanon FOP Lodge #83.
MC DONALD: It’s time Cannon Countians are represented Senator who understand their challenges and who can get along with others to make things work instead of the politicians’ way of partisan bickering. I have been farming and creating jobs for many years, so I understand the frustrations we all have with Nashville politicians who are more concerned with having their pictures in the paper or working against each other instead of working for us.
It’s also time that our State Senate shares in the sacrifice we all make each day. As your State Senator, I will work to freeze Senators’ pay, cut the perks like reimbursement for meals and travel, and I will personally refuse the taxpayer-funded health insurance provided to legislators because I believe in setting examples.