Senate incumbent Raymond Finney (R) fended off the attacks by three candidates for his seat last Thursday evening during a public debate. The state primary party elections for the Legislature are Aug. 7

The candidates are Senator Raymond Finney, R-Maryville, Representative Doug Overbey, R-Maryville, James Bishop, R-Sevierville and Ira Lapides I-Gatlinburg. The District 8 Senate Seat has for the past number of years been occupied by a resident from Maryville.

The debate took place at the Sevier County Courthouse. It was sponsored by Sevier County Right To Life and narrated by Seymour Herald Publisher Joe Karl and Knoxville News columnist Greg Johnson.

Opening statements by each candidate displayed their differenced.

Senator Finney described his involvement with the Right to Life organization as a charter member of the Sevier County Chapter. He talked about what he observed during his retired physician and his four websites devoted to the right to life. He passionately believes he needs to do what he can to keep women from having the pain of suffering thru an abortion. He is the Founder and President of the Blount County Right To Life and a charter member of the Sevier County Right To Life, has been involved with prayer chains, given pro-life messages at various churches at many other events. “I’m a retired physician and I know what these women go thru after an abortion, I’ve seen aborted babies and it’s shameful to let women suffer like this,” Finney stated.

Ira Lapides reported that the Right to Life issue is a very important issue, but it isn’t what brought him into this race. Lapides represents the tobacco business which has been over-taxed. Lapides believes the people who do smoke have been denied civil rights given to every group imaginable, but that isn’t what brought him into the race. What did bring him into the race is what society is creating today, a criminal nation and a criminal society.  Lapides feels the judicial system is inadequate and he felt that no one else would tackle the issues he has calculated to be a major problem.

“The things that I found are astounding to me, embarrassing to me and certainly need changing,” stated Lapides.

Representative Doug Overbey stated when he first ran for office eight years ago, with the intent of making a appositive difference in our state. Overbey considers it an honor and privilege to be able to be part of the assembly passing laws in the state to the six million residents of Tennessee. He talked about attempted to bring common sense and conservative values to the House; to create jobs; making health care more accessible and available; making nursing home safer and creating effective trauma centers. “I bring to you and offer you the skills of an advocate and fighter and that when you come to see you we will talk and I will listen and I will stand up for Sevier and Blount Counties,” stated Overbey.

James Bishop, ”Im running as the working man’s candidate more than ever in these tough economic times the people need someone to represent them not special interest groups.” Bishop outlined the large amount of money collected by the incumbents from special interest groups from all around the country. The people of Sevier County can’t afford to pay Knox County property taxes, according to Bishop.

Each candidate at one time or another during the evening attacked Senator Finney on what in reality was a meaningless vote of 32-1

Each candidate navigated thru the six to eight questions posed to them during the evening. They all felt if was sad that there was a need for ethics and sunshine laws as the people holding those offices should already hold themselves to a much higher degree of morals and ethics.

Many questions, due to time constraints were not asked. As a result, the following email was sent to the candidate. We will publish their responses as we get them.

The following email was received June 4th :

Gentlemen…….All these questions came from our audience on May 29, and deserve your honest and thoughtful answers. Please respond back to me (Ursula Beckmann) so I can post the answers on our Sevier County chapter Webpage as soon as possible. Thank you again for your participation in our Forum, as this is a terrific way to get your message to the people of the 8th District and the State. God Bless
Sincerely, Ursula Beckmann, president of SCRTL.

Question #1…Sevier County has lost approximately six million BEP. What do you plan to do about that ?
Question #2…What does it cost to adopt a child in Tenn? Is there financial assistance available to prospective adoptive parents who cannot afford such a price ? How can the Adoption process be made more efficient and less costly and time-consuming than it is now ? (ONE "card", from one individual)
Question #3…What financial cost has America suffered as a result of over 50,000,000 children being denied the opportunity to enter the work force, pay taxes, & Social Security, join the Military and contribute to our Society ,etc., due to Abortion ?
Question #4…Are you aware that more babies are aborted EACH year in America than the number of soldiers who have died in ALL wars in our nation combined.? (Approx. 1.2 million soldiers have died in our wars)
Question #5…Are you familiar with the procedures used in abortions to end a babies life ? How are their little bodies disposed of ? Where do you stand on Partial-Birth abortion ? Are Abortion clinics regulated the same as hospitals and medical clinics ? Do they have the same guidelines concerning cleanliness, infection, complications, etc. ? If NOT, why Not ? ( 2 separate "cards", same general Topics)
Question # 6…Could you clarify why the states are limited by the Roe v Wade decision ? I’m asking because I thought that decision left it up to the states to decide. If the process of legislational Government gave us "abortion on demand" without the people's vote, Why is it now up to the People, Not the Government, to reverse ? Who is/was the #1 opponent against SJR. 127 ? (3 separate, but related questions.)

The state primary party elections for the Legislature are Aug. 7. The general election is Nov. 4.

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